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Earliest use of Domain-Specific Modeling name

January 19, 2009 14:37:03 +0200 (EET)

Jeff Gray asked a good question in response to my "Domain-Specific Modeling: what's in a name?":

Can any readers of Steve's blog suggest what they consider as the earliest reference where the explicit phrase "domain-specific modeling" occurs? I am not asking about where general concepts are defined under other names, but where the specific name is first used.

Let's make it more precise in that we're looking for cases where the phrase is used to mean the same thing that we mean today: creating a new graphical modeling language with a set of symbols, concepts and rules for connecting them to build models of systems in a particular domain. We're not talking about modeling in the more abstract sense, e.g. for textual DSLs or for mathematical models of how a physical system behaves.

I opened the bidding in the comments with Bran Selic's work on ROOM, later seen in ObjecTime and UML/RT:

1992: ROOM: an object-oriented methodology for developing real-time systems, B. Selic, G. Gullekson, J. McGee, I. Engelberg, in: Proceeding of Fifth International Workshop on Computer-Aided Software Engineering, 6-10 July 1992

That was from Google Scholar; Google Books might help us go back even further. A search for DSM from 1950-1980 turns up the following:

1975: Government reports announcements & index‎ by United States National Technical Information Service - "The proposed tool will include an interactive intelligent graphical interface and a high-level domain-specific modeling language"
1961: International Abstracts in Operations Research‎ by International Federation of Operational Research Societies, Operations Research Society of America - "... environment for domain-specific modeling via the use of user-defined modeling elements..."

The 1961 reference looked particularly fascinating, because it would also be the first reference to DSM where a tool allows users to create their own modeling language, as opposed to just using a tool that contains a fixed DSM language. Presumably not a graphical modeling tool -- it was 2 years before Ivan Sutherland's incredible Sketchpad -- and most likely more on the mathematical modeling side (at least the quote is found verbatim in a paper on queuing theory). The 1975 quote may well be also be more mathematical, as it is found in a paper on planetary atmospheric modeling.

Any other suggestions, or confirmation/refutation of those two early occurrences?

Edit 25.6.2014:The 1961 reference was later corrected to 1991, and the 1975 reference to 1990 (and limited at least at that stage to a single domain). The earliest reference I have found so far is from 1988 by the Vanderbilt team, including Janos Sztipanovits and Gabor Karsai; I had the honour of helping Gabor make a readable version available online.