Research

Dr. Anderson is broadly interested in the fields of software engineering, hypermedia, computer-supported cooperative work, and human-computer interaction. He is currently working on projects related to software architecture, Web application frameworks, and REST-based Web services.

Current Research

ACE: ACE stands for Age Calculation Environment and is the product of Dr. Anderson's work on his joint ITR grant with Dr. Elizabeth Bradley at CU and Dr. Marek Zreda at the University of Arizona. This project is focused on developing next generation software for the analysis and design of cosmogenic nuclide dating algorithms. Such algorithms measure the effects of cosmic ray collisions on exposed land surfaces to help understand the long term evolution of landforms such as glaciers and moraines. Dr. Anderson and his team at CU have been developing a design environment that allows new cosmogenic dating algorithms to be designed and evaluated. Work on ACE is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Themis: Themis is a project on a topic known as structural computing that is intellectually descended from Dr. Anderson's work on open hypermedia. Open hypermedia concerns itself with creating middleware for manipulating structures and services related to the domain of navigational hypermedia. Structural computing is attempting to generalize this work by creating middleware for manipulating structures and services for arbitrary application domains. The basic idea is that a developer can specify the structures and services important for a particular application domain and then generate a middleware server that would allow client applications to access those structures and services. The benefit is that developers avoid the difficult work of creating a middleware server which requires expertise in distributed computing, persistence, naming, security, etc. Instead, they focus on their application domain and using structural computing techniques gain quick access to middleware that provides them with a platform upon which to build client applications that would be used by end users of the domain. Themis is the name of Dr. Anderson's and his Ph.D. student Van Lepthien's structural computing environment. Themis is known for its support of structural templates and the ability to associate services via types.

Decidable Semantics: Dr. Anderson has recently become interested in the topic of decidable semantics and how it can be used to model the behaviors of large-scale software systems. In the past, programs with decidable semantics have been limited to “toy problems” of limited use. However, there are application domains involving large software systems in which the behavior of the software system is decidable, that means, given the system's inputs, it is possible to predict what the system's output will be. Dr. Anderson is currently working with a software company that is bringing together a variety of techniques such as constraint logic programming, subsumption reasoning, and numerical methods, to make it possible to model the decidable semantics of large software systems from particular application domains (such as finance). The research topics of this project involve the classic tradeoff between the expressivity of a specification language and the decidability of its semantics and how subsumption reasoning techniques can aid the software quality assurance process of software systems.

Past Research

This section lists past research projects that are no longer under active development.

EventTrails: EventTrails was a project that made use of event-based notification systems and application integration techniques to develop an architecture for monitoring the on-line activities of a user, as indexed by their actions in integrated applications. This work was funded by ARDA, a research branch of the NSA, in the context of how such an architecture could be used to aid in the detection of “hostile insiders”, that is, employees of intelligence organization that are acting as “double agents”. We developed a proof-of-concept prototype of EventTrails that hooked into various event sources and provided tools for searching and visualizing the resulting event streams.

Metis: Metis was a research project that looked at issues of workflow in digital libraries. We developed a flexible event-based workflow system that could be tied into an existing digital library that allowed its multiple stakeholders to coordinate their actions. Work on Metis was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Chimera: Chimera is an example of an open hypermedia system. It provides hypermedia middleware that can be used to deliver navigational hypermedia services to client applications. Chimera specialized in supporting software development life cycles by making it straightforward to link software artifacts (including running software systems) together. Chimera also explored issues of extensibility, data scalability, and integration of hypermedia services into graphical user interface toolkits. Work on Chimera was funded primarily by DARPA when Professor Anderson was a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, and partly by the National Science Foundation during his subsequent work on InfiniTe.

InfiniTe: InfiniTe was a follow-on project to Chimera that shifted the focus of Chimera from navigational hypermedia services to semantic hypermedia services over the artifacts of its client applications. Rather than model that a particular link existed between a design document and a testing document and allow a user to traverse that link, InfiniTe went a step further to allow users to define a type for that link (such as “is_validated_by”) that could be explicitly searched for or, more importantly, play a role in helping to find larger semantic structures composed of multiple instances of links of multiple types. InfiniTe provided an environment for creating, finding, and editing semantic structures between software artifacts and used Chimera to allows those links to be viewed and traversed in their native applications. Work on InfiniTe was funded by the National Science Foundation.

TraceM: TraceM is a project that represents the Ph.D. work of Dr. Susanne A. Sherba, one of Dr. Anderson's former Ph.D. students. It focused on the issues of automating the process of requirements traceability and built upon the work of Chimera and InfiniTe. TraceM could be used to orchestrate the services of InfiniTe and Chimera to guide the process of searching software artifacts for instances of common traceability relationships and then, once found, provided services for managing their evolution. Work on TraceM was partly funded by the National Science Foundation as part of Dr. Anderson's work on InfiniTe.

Kenneth M. Anderson, 1998-2016.