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Strider configuration modelling and analysis approach


Structuring ethnographies, Widening access, Analysis of ethnographic data


Strider is a dirc developed, approach and support tool for the modelling and analysis of configurations to support the development and maintenance of socio-technical systems. This novel approach has been developed for use on systems composed of a wide variety of different components including social and organisational elements, in addition to the more traditional software and hardware aspects. The Strider approach is based on well-established fundamental modelling concepts used in the representation of purely technical systems. These include structures from entity-relational, control flow and data flow modelling. In order to apply concepts from such approaches to the modelling of system configurations a variety of abstractions, refinements and simplifications have been made.

The Strider approach is used to structure information derived from ethnographic activities. To support this, the strider tool is built on top of the Scavenger media management tool. Scavenger is used to "harvest" mixed-media fragments from ethnographic original sources and to aid in structuring them into the required format for Strider configuration models.

Strider is a pragmatic approach that is sensible to the difficulties of scale involved in the modelling and analysis of complex systems. The aim of this work is to explore how modelling and analysing just the top-level configuration structure of a system can benefit the maintenance process. Configuration models of such systems are lightweight and quick to construct and can help to promote understanding by the various stakeholders involved in system development, operation and evolution.

These models also provide the data required for performing various useful forms of automated analysis. The results of such analysis can allow managers, administrators, developers and end users to investigate various efficiency, productivity and dependability attributes of the current configuration of a system. This can help support decisions about the development and evolution of a system by allowing the assessment of proposed changes such as the addition or removal of components, processes and structures.


Case study: Applying Strider to the Chaum e-voting system

More information about Strider configuration modelling

Scavenger ethnographic harvester

Situation modeling

Ethnography and Design


Lock, S., "Strider: Configuration Modelling and Analysis of Complex Systems", accepted to appear in the Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance, Budapest, Hungary, Sept 25-30, 2005

Lock, S., "The management of socio-technical systems using configuration modelling", Human Systems Management Vol 23(1), pp.29-47, 2004


Simon Lock (lock at comp dot lancs dot ac dot uk)



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