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Product Line Engineering. CS 415, Software Engineering II Mark Ardis, Rose-Hulman Institute March 11, 2003. Acknowledgements. David Weiss Lloyd Nakatani Janel Green Bob Olsen Paul Pontrelli. Outline. What is product line engineering? How did we use product line engineering at Lucent?

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Product line engineering

Product Line Engineering

CS 415, Software Engineering II

Mark Ardis, Rose-Hulman Institute

March 11, 2003


  • David Weiss

  • Lloyd Nakatani

  • Janel Green

  • Bob Olsen

  • Paul Pontrelli


  • What is product line engineering?

  • How did we use product line engineering at Lucent?

  • Why did product line engineering work (at Lucent)?

Airbus beats boeing in huge jetliner deal with usair 11 6 96 ny times
Airbus Beats Boeing in Huge Jetliner Deal with USAir (11/6/96 NY Times)

  • USAir, which had never bought a plane from Airbus, will purchase 120 Airbus A319s, A320s, and A321s...

  • USAir’s current fleet is a hodgepodge of nine types of aircraft

  • A simplified domestic fleet would allow USAir to lower costs.

  • Importance of Commonality

    • USAir will reduce costs by using one aircraft type

    • Airbus is reducing its production costs by reusing one aircraft type

Airbus wins 4 billion order from iberia beating boeing 2 4 98 ny times
Airbus Wins $4 Billion Order From Iberia, Beating Boeing (2/4/98 NY Times)

  • Iberia ordered 76 planes:

    • 9 A319’s, each with capacity for 124 passengers

    • 36 A320’s, each with capacity for 150 passengers

    • 31 A321’s, each with capacity for 185 passengers

Airbus wins 4 billion order
Airbus Wins $4 Billion Order...

  • “Iberia president said single-aisle Airbus models... though differing in passenger capacity, had identical cockpits and mechanical specifications that offered savings in crew training and maintenance.”

Product line approach
Product Line Approach

  • Reorganize the software development process

    • Evolve a family rather than build single systems

    • Invest in family infrastructure: Capitalize

  • Develop systematic approach to building flexible application generators

Fast family oriented abstraction specification translation

Application Environment

Application Engineering


FAST: Family-oriented Abstraction, Specification, Translation

Domain Engineering


Domain engineering

Domain Analysis

Domain Model

Domain Implementation

Application Environment

Domain Engineering

Analysis Document,

Application Modeling




Application engineering



Application Environment

Application Engineering


Application Engineering

Economics of families
Economics of Families





Number of Family Members

Defining a family commonality analysis
Defining a Family:Commonality Analysis

  • Dictionary: Technical vocabulary of the domain

  • Commonalities: Assertions about every member of the family

  • Variabilities: Assertions about variation across the family

  • Consensus process

    • All domain experts invited to participate

    • Led by a trained moderator

    • Real-time editing of the document

Application engineering environment
Application Engineering Environment

  • A language for specifying family members

  • Translators from specification to code

  • Libraries of common code

  • Supporting tools

    • Simulator

    • Test case generator

    • Verifier

Fast benefits
FAST Benefits

  • Improved Understanding

  • Shorter Intervals

  • Lower Costs (Domain Dependent)

  • Process Innovation

  • Improved Technology

Eli whitney
Eli Whitney

  • Born December 8, 1765

  • Raised on a farm in rural Massachusetts

  • Attended Yale College 1789-1792

  • What did Whitney do in 1793?

The cotton gin
The Cotton Gin

  • Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793

  • Southern planters refused to pay royalties on patent

    • The gin was easy to manufacture

    • Southern legislatures conspired against Whitney

Eli whitney1
Eli Whitney

  • Whitney’s company was out of business by 1797

  • What did Whitney do in 1798?

Whitney s gamble on automation
Whitney’s Gamble on Automation

  • Whitney offered to make 10,000 muskets in 2 years

  • No other manufacturer had ever made more than a few hundred muskets

  • Automation was needed to improve the efficiency of the locksmiths

  • Whitney invented milling machines to produce interchangeable parts

  • Demonstrated for Congress in 1802

Configuration control
Configuration Control

  • Software that enables changes in switch configuration while the switch is operating

    • Ensures that requested configurations are valid and safe

    • Reconfigures

    • Example: Remove a Protocol Handler (PH) from service and replace it with a spare

  • New switching technology requires new configuration controllers

    • New unit types for new functionality of lower cost

Maintenance domain structure

Human Machine








Fault Detection

and Analysis


Hardware Software


Maintenance Domain Structure



Commonality analysis of configuration control
Commonality Analysis of Configuration Control

  • 1 staff-year effort over 6 months by 6 experts

  • Produced a Commonality Analysis

    • Definitions: rational vocabulary

    • Commonalities: reusable algorithms

    • Variabilities: relationships between devices

    • Parameters of Variation: enumerated types

  • Reviewed by organization

Building technology for configuration control
Building Technology for Configuration Control

  • 2 staff-years effort over 12 months by 3 experts

  • Languages -- capture generic algorithms and parameters

  • Translators -- translate to executable code

  • Interface to legacy system

  • Graphical editor

Configuration control architecture





C Data



Configuration Control Architecture

Domain Engineering Environment

Application Engineering Environment

Configuration control development environment





Configuration ControlDevelopment Environment








C Code




Application Specific

Configuration Control

Reusable assets
Reusable Assets

  • Validations -- generic algorithms for every unit type

  • Realizations -- generic algorithms for every unit type

  • Relationships

    • data that is used to drive the generic algorithms

    • design information shared across development


  • Project 1 (1994)

    • re-engineering project to demonstrate feasibility

    • replaced existing code and demonstrated in lab

  • Project 2 (1996)

    • shadow project to demonstrate performance

    • duplicated work of another team and compared results

  • Project 3 (1997-1998)

    • first real application

    • reworked domain analysis as work progressed

  • Project 4 (1999)

    • production use

Measuring benefits
Measuring Benefits

  • Siy and Mockus studied the effect of domain engineering on the AIM project:

    • Studied 22,804 MRs involved in 1351 distinct software features over a 7 year period

    • Found that domain engineered MRs took 1/4 of the time of other MRs

    • Total savings was $6M - $9M for 1999.

Where is domain engineering being used in lucent
Where is Domain Engineering Being Used in Lucent?

  • Switching

    • Naperville, IL

    • Boulder, CO

    • Hilversum, Netherlands

    • Malmesbury, England

    • Poland

  • Wireless

    • Software development processes

Diffusion of innovations
Diffusion of Innovations

  • Classic work by Everett M. Rogers (ISBN 0-02-926671-8)

  • Discovered keys to technology transfer:

    • Relative advantage

      • How much better is it?

    • Compatibility

      • Is it consistent with values, experiences, and needs?

    • Complexity

      • How difficult is it to understand and use?

    • Trialability

      • How easily may it be tried experimentally?

    • Observability

      • How visible are the results of use?

Technology transfer at lucent
Technology Transfer at Lucent

  • Estimates are that we only use about 10% of the good ideas developed within Bell Labs Research

  • What’s wrong with the other 90%?

    • Relative advantage?

    • Compatibility?

    • Complexity?

    • Trialability?

    • Observability?

Problems of oral culture
Problems of Oral Culture

  • No History (Goody and Watt)

    • Story changes with each telling

    • Evolution breeds decay

  • No abstraction (Luria)

    • Insistence on reasoning in terms of ground elements

    • Refusal to extend arguments to abstractions

From orality to literacy
From Orality to Literacy

  • Write it down

  • Identify abstractions

  • Construct languages

  • Create in the new languages

Power of written language
Power of Written Language

  • Generic algorithms of Configuration Control

    • Translated to flowcharts and English for review

    • Executed in simulator for further review

    • Translated to VFSM for execution

  • Commonality Analysis of Configuration Control

    • Starting point for DECC implementation

    • Starting point for 4 other designs

Diffusion of domain engineering
Diffusion of Domain Engineering

  • Relative advantage:

    • Solution to the right problem

  • Compatibility:

    • by the right people

  • Complexity:

    • using the right tools and methods

  • Trialability:

    • so that anyone can try it

  • Observability:

    • and see the results


  • Domain engineering reduces interval and cost of software development

  • Resulting products are more consistent and easier to maintain

  • Capturing domain knowledge in written form was the key


Siy and Mockus, "Measuring domain engineering effects on software coding cost", 6th International Symposium on Software Metrics, 304-311, November 4-6, 1999.

Ardis, Dudak, Dor, Leu, Nakatani, Olsen, Pontrelli, "Domain engineered configuration control", Software Product Line Conference, August 28-31, 2000.

Ardis and Green, "Successful introduction of domain engineering into software development", Bell Labs Technical Journal 3(3), July-September 1998.