Trends in Middleware Systems - Selected Topics and Concepts - Winter 2006
ECE1770 - Graduate Course

With a few words

Instructor: Prof. Hans-Arno Jacobsen
[ Contact Information ]
Office hours: Catch me right after class, or by appointment.
Room: GB 248 (occassionally in Lab BA2128, see below)
Time: Thursday 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Textbook: Research papers et al.
Previous years: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

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A "middleware system" (a.k.a. computing infrastructure) constitutes a set of services that aim at facilitating the development of distributed applications in heterogeneous environments. The primary objectives of middleware are to foster application portability, distributed application component interoperability, and facilitate software component integration. At least conceptually, the "middleware layer" comprises a layer below the application and above the operating system and network substrate. Common middleware platforms include CORBA, DCOM, Java RMI, J2EE, MQSeries, MSMQ, and Web Services.

Other than in previous years (see 2003, 2002, and 2001.), this course constitutes an introductory-level course aiming to discuss middleware trends around Service-oriented Architectures and Web services.

This course targets advanced undergraduate students and graduate students. The course is less research-oriented than in previous years and more oriented towards covering current middleware trends in industry.

Topic and Lecture Outline

The following constitutes a tentative outline of the course.

  1. Session 1 - Jan 12th: SOA Overview
    Presenter: Glen McDougall
    Take away: Definition of SOA
    Slides: Slides

    Reading material: SOA Foundation Paper
    Reference material: TBD
  2. Session 2 - Jan 19 Session on Standards
    Presenter: Professor Arno Jacobsen
    Take away: Importance and benefits of standards
    Reading material: TBD
    Reference material: TBD
  3. Session 3 - Jan 26 Application Integration
    Presenter: Kelvin Yung
    Take away:Application integration patterns
    Slides: Slides

    Reading material: Blue Book (Ch. 1 and Ch. 4, only
    Reference material: Remaining chapters of blue book.
  4. Session 4 - Feb 2 J2EE Runtime for Business Applications
    Presenter: Dale Sue Ping
    Take away: J2EE runtime environment
    Slides: Slides

    Reading material: Reading
    An excerpt (chapter 2) from the book called "Building J2EE Applications with the Rational Unified Process". This excerpt was made available by permission from Addison-Wesley. See [ Link ]
    Reference material: J2EE Spec.
  5. Session 5 - Feb 9 Enterprise Service Bus (also incl. Data Power)
    Presenter: Glen McDougall
    Take away: ESB patterns (also introduce adapter topic)

    Reading material: [ Paper 1 ] [ Paper 2 ]
    Reference material: N/A.
  6. Session 6 - Feb 16 Session on requirement gathering and proposal writing
    Presenter: Gordon Lee
    Take away: Proposal and Statement of Work
    Slides: N/A
    Reading material: N/A
    Reference material: N/A

    Feb 23 Reading Week (no lecture)

  7. Session 6 - Marc 2nd: Business Process Management
    Presenter: Soudabeh Javadi
    Take away: SOA lifecycle (or process integration)

    Reading material: N/A
    Reference material: N/A
  8. Session 7 - March 9th: Workshop on WebSphere Business Modeler V6 (tentatively in BA2000) Slides

  9. Session 8 - March 16th: Workshop on WebSphere Integration Developer V6: Process integration (tentatively in BA2000) Slides - Not yet Available.

  10. Session 9 - March 23rd: Workshop - WebSphere Integration Developer V6 ESB (tentatively in BA2000) Slides

  11. Session 10 - March 30: Security Services for SOA
    Presenters: Jim Davey and Bruce Wishart
    Take away Security reference architecture for SOA
    Slides: Slide set 1 and Slide set 2

    Reading material: [ Paper 1 ]
    Reference material: TBD
  12. Session 12 - April 6: Trends and directions and wrap-up
    Presenters: Peter Beggs and Presenters team
    Take away: Current trends
    Slides: Slides
    Reading material: [ Paper 1 ] and [ Paper 2 ]
    Reference material: N/A.
  13. Session 13 - TBD
  14. Session 14 - TBD

Course Objectives

This course constitutes an introductory-level graduate course that aims at discussing industry trends in the middleware space.

The course features three labs/workshops that will expose the student to Web services, BPEL et al. with hands-on exercises.

Class Project

This course is project-based, i.e., you have to propose and carry out a project that investigates an issue within the scope of middleware systems. A list of suggested topics will be discussed in class.

The guidelines for research projects are as follows:

For your final project write-up you must use the proposed format (cf. ACM proceedings format.) Do not write more than 8 pages in the given format. Note, you may write less, if you are able to express your project results in fewer pages.

Your project report must be of "publishable quality". This means, the presentation should not include typos, not contain too many grammatical errors, etc. It DOES NOT mean that your paper must be ready for publication in a major conference. (Even though this would be a desirable future result, but is not necessary in order to achieve a good result in the course !)

Project marking scheme

Final project timeline etc.: Progress Report:
- submit a progress report by e-mail in ASCII (plain e-mail) anytime before

- it should contain:
  - brief and concise description of the problem you are working on
  - describe your approach
  - summary of accomplishments so far
  - next steps 
  - problems encountered and how you anticipate to solve them
Project Proposals:
- are due TBA
- just send me a plain e-mail with a description
- the proposal should include the following points:

    - problem statement: identify the problem
    - relevance: state why this is an important problem
    - related approaches: briefly review what others have done to solve this  problem
    - approach: say what you intend to do to solve the problem
    - describe anticipated difficulties


Project idea suggestions

A list of suggested project topics will be distributed in class a few weeks after the beginning of the semester.


The course mark is broken down as follows: