The formal specification community has produced many languages but few structured
design methods. Those which exist tend to be abstract, providing little guidance in
tackling problems in particular domains. One way of devising domain -specific design
methods is by reconstructing an example in the domain using the target method; then
generalising the design structures to cover a class of designs in the domain and finally
building an environment in which these structures may more easily be re- applied to new
problems. We demonstrate this approach using animal population dynamics models
as the domain and Prolog techniques as the target method.
We have identified domain -specific techniques which use a parameterisation method
from techniques editing but which contain information specific to the population dynamics domain; we define a problem description language which uses concepts from
population dynamics; an interface which allows these concepts to be supplied; and
provide an automated system which bridges between population dynamics problem
description and the domain -specific techniques needed for model generation.
TeMS - Techniques -based Model Synthesiser, is the system constructed as the main
instrument of our research. Because it is an embodiment of our views on the issues
addressed, we submitted TeMS to user evaluation by ecological modelling experts,
which produced material for a broad discussion of the system itself, its approach to
modelling and its potential uses on the ecological modelling scenario.