Natural Modelling

By: Zoe Zarwin, Marija Bjeković, Jean-Marie Favre, Jean-Sébastien Sottet, Henderik A. Proper


While modelling research typically concentrates on its more technical and formal aspects, this paper provides a case for what we coin natural modelling. Modelling has always been and will always remain a human-intensive activity. To be adopted at large, modelling technologies should be perceived as natural as possible. In order to characterise what natural means, this paper briefly provides an anthropological and historical perspective on modelling. Constituting per se a first contribution, this retrospective allows to exhibit fundamental modelling concepts, spanning across ages. By looking backwards to understand what was natural (in) modelling in the past, this paper aims to define some elements for what could what computer-assisted natural modelling could be in the future. More specifically, it is argued that (1) the need for compromises between flexibility and formality is rather natural than extreme, (2) languages are emergent by their very nature and continuously evolve, and (3) natural interaction with modelling technology should be provided to all stakehold- ers, as it strongly promotes stakeholders participation. Although these aspects took different forms in historical developments of technology, we argue that the principles are still relevant today, and that these should be considered in the future research. The paper ends with some simple illustrations, which help provide the insight on how computer-assisted natural modelling could look like in a possible future.


natural modelling, modelling, languages, history, infomation technologies, natural interfaces

Cite as:

Zoe Zarwin, Marija Bjeković, Jean-Marie Favre, Jean-Sébastien Sottet, Henderik A. Proper, “Natural Modelling”, Journal of Object Technology, Volume 13, no. 3 (July 2014), pp. 4:1-36, doi:10.5381/jot.2014.13.3.a4.

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The JOT Journal   |   ISSN 1660-1769   |   DOI 10.5381/jot   |   AITO   |   Open Access   |    Contact