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JKU LIT813430001


Mechatronics is a multidiciplinary field bringing together engineering
disciplines such as (but not limited to) software engineering, control
engineering, mechanical engineering, and robotics. Examples of
software-intensive mechatronic systems are diverse---such as robots used
for welding, car engine control units, injection moulding machines, or
transport systems in assembly lines.
Designing such a system brings together design knowledge from different
engineering disciplines---with each disciplines contributing its own
modeling languages and mechatronic design artifacts. For example, EPlan
diagrams describe the electrical layout, Structured Text encodes the
software control logic, and Collada 3D models describe the physical
dimensions of the system.

A key challenge, however, is to keep all these artifacts consistent to
obtain a correct system: the control code needs to match the electrical
layout, the positioning algorithms need to match the physical shapes.
To this end, it is still a common practice that the different
disciplines are treated separately, often in a sequential workflow, with
software engineering towards the development life-cycle end. This
hinders efficient change coordination between the engineers in different

The projects aim is to obtain a first, basic understanding how engineers
coordinate and execute cross-disciplinary changes in software-intensive
mechatronical systems. To this end, this project’s outcomes will include
work practices found in industry, cross-disciplinary coordination
patterns, and cross-disciplinary change propagation best practices.We
hypothesize that such an understanding is best obtained through a
two-sided approach:  we study  1)  how  engineers  create  and  change
mechatronical artifacts  and  their  dependencies;  and  2)  how
engineers coordinate their work around these artifacts:  two sides of
the same coin.  The proposed approach is truly interdisciplinary as we
attempt to apply methods, techniques, and theory from software
engineering (specifically mining software repositories, source code
dependency analysis, developer interaction monitoring, etc) in the
mechatronics field and observe—as a side outcome—to what extent such a
transfer is possible and useful.