Computing That Serves

Proposing a New Design-Science Model-Checking Methodology for the Assurance of Electronic Commerce Processes


Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 11:00am


Bonnie Anderson
Associate Professor, Department of Information Systems, Marriott School

Ensuring that e-commerce processes are correctly designed and implemented is no longer just a technical issue; it is a management issue of pressing concern-especially in terms of operational risks. E-process managers, developers, and system auditors require increasingly robust tools to assure designers and users that e-business systems are secure and reliable. It is insufficient to demonstrate that a system can meet its requirements; instead, it should be demonstrated prior to implementation that a system cannot fail to meet its requirements. Model checking is an evolving technical methodology for addressing this need.

With Internet e-processes as our applied context, we develop and demonstrate a model-based method of verifying e-process design. This approach is motivated by the widespread use and proven modeling efficacy of UML activity diagrams. Our model transforms the UML activity diagram to the model checking language for verification. The correctness and completeness of the transformation is based on the construction of homomorphic mappings between model elements of the activity diagram and the model checking language.

We demonstrate our model by applying it to two electronic commerce processes: Web Services and Electronic Contracting. Our model contributes to design science by directly addressing one of its fundamental criticisms-that it is difficult to apply rigorous evaluation methods to design science (Hevner et al. 2004)-and by improving the creation of the IT artifact of e-commerce models.


Dr. Bonnie Brinton Anderson is an associate professor of Information Systems in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University.  She has been at BYU since receiving her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 2001.  She teaches a variety of classes including the "Introduction to Management Information Systems" and an MBA class:  "Leading Change in a Technical Environment."  Her research areas include social networks, software adoption, knowledge management, model-checking, and computational mechanism design.  She has published in Decision Support Systems, Communications of the ACM, Electronic Commerce Research, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Men, and Cybernetics, and Information Sciences, among others.