Ken Evans on Object-Role Modelling (ORM)

The guest speaker today was Ken Evans, a visiting senior research fellow at the University of Lincoln with a career including the RAF and IBM. His research interests include management systems, data modelling and software engineering. The presentation covered many topics, firstly posing a few questions about the value of data in industry and how it is mismanaged. Then, after a brief summary of Ken’s varied career, the talk moved onto data modelling and management. Overall the talk was interesting, even if at times rambling, providing a thought provoking insight into how data systems are modelled.

The talk explained the age old problem of determining the true requirements for a system and how to translate those requirements into a design. It was at this point Ken began to discuss his latest venture: object role modelling (ORM). This aspect of the talk was of great interest to me as I am studying the suitability of UML and ORM for reverse engineering database driven systems as part of my third year project. In addition to discussing modelling using ORM, Ken also gave a demonstration using a Microsoft Visual Studio plugin. I found the demonstration very interesting as it had such a direct relation to my third year project, so interesting in fact that I stayed behind after the talk to discuss the subject in detail with Ken for several hours.

Although the topic was of interest to me I think many of the audience struggled to see much relevance and as such switched off when Ken went into greater detail. However, the point of ensuring correct requirements and accurate design is essential for any project producing a system that is fit for purpose. For me this talk has provided an insight into a topic I will continue to explore and am sure I will be speaking with Ken throughout the remainder of the academic year.

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