Nowadays, software systems are ubiquitous, and a large part of our modern life deeply depends on them. Yet they are considered as one of the most complex artefacts ever built by human beings. In particular, maintaining such systems has long been recognized as a crucial, complex and costly task, which is especially due to the lack of sufficient documentation. In this context, understanding the software system constitutes a prerequisite of the maintenance and evolution processes. This understanding step, also called reverse engineering, may represent up to 50% of the total maintenance effort.
It has also been shown that understanding the evolution history of a complex software system can significantly aid the reverse engineering step and inform future system maintenance and evolution initiatives. Software repositories such as version management systems provide excellent opportunities for historical analyses. Most research work in this area has been concentrated on program code, design and architecture, but little attention has been devoted to the database of the system. This is an unfortunate gap as many software systems are data-intensive, i.e., their central artefact is a database.
Understanding the database schema which captures domain-specific concepts, data structures and integrity constraints may constitute a prerequisite to understanding the source code of the system as well as its evolution. Similarly, determining which fragments of the source code access certain parts of the database may be of crucial importance in the context of various software evolution scenarios such as migrating the application towards a new database platform, evolving the data structures to meet changing requirements, or assessing the quality of the overall system.
Anthony Cleve is a professor in information system evolution at the University of Namur, where he served as president of the PReCISE research center, bringing together over 50 full-time researchers, focused on the engineering and management of advanced information systems. He was also a visiting Lecturer in database engineering at the Université libre de Bruxelles. His research interests include data-intensive system maintenance and evolution, software and data reengineering & migration, data modeling, program analysis & transformation, and self-adaptive and context-aware systems.He has co-authored over 50 publications related to software and systems engineering, published in international conferences and journals.
Anthony's PhD thesis, entitled « Program Analysis and Transformation for Data-Intensive System Evolution », earned him the IBM Belgium 2010 Award for the best PhD thesis in Computer Science and applications. He was also nominated for the Cor Baayen Award 2012, offered to a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics. Anthony regularly serves in the organizing and/or program committees of many international scientific events. He served as co-chair of the ERCIM Working Group on Software Evolution, Steering Committee member of the International Workshop on Principles of Software Evolution, and program co-chair for two editions of the European Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution.