The semantic gap between the natural languages of the (human) users and the technical languages of the machines is one of the central challenges of computer science. While we will probably never manage to close this gap completely, how can we then at least make it as small as possible? How can we provide software development methods and tools that enable also non-programmers to create applications for their specific needs?
In my research I address these questions in the field of workflow and process modelling, model-driven development, and service orientation. My particular focus is on the use of formal methods (especially synthesis techniques) to partially automate the development of application-specific software and thus leverage it to a more abstract level that is more easily accessible for (end) users. A central aspect of this work is the specific tailoring of the development environment to the concrete application domain through careful semantic domain modelling, that is, the adequate formalisation of the relevant domain knowledge, typically making use of ontologies.
In the last years I have mainly worked in the area of scientific workflow applications, such as bioinformatics, geoinformatics, medical research, and business analytics. As a side effect of teaching different courses in the area of scientific workflows, I have also developed an interest in research about education in software development and computational science.