Herman Balsters

Master’s degree in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Mathematics and Computer Science (1986). Goal of the thesis was establishing a theoretical basis  for automatic verification of mathematical proofs and computer programs. University: Technical University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Herman is a part-time associate professor in the field of Analysis and Design of Information Systems, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles in journals, books, and conferences. Topics are: Mathematical Logic, Databases, Interoperability and Integration of information systems.

Herman is also director of Contracts11. Contracts11 aims at designing and building robust and reliable Information Systems that rely on precise modeling and design to effectively control the information flow between business entities. In many cases, information can only flow from an offering party to a requesting party when we know that certain pre- and post conditions hold. Such a collection of pre- and post conditions constitutes a “contract” stating what the software eventually has to do.

Contract-based modeling and design can be essential when the information processing can lead to serious risks when certain conditions are not met. These risks can be financial, legal, health-related, security-related, system critical etc. Contracts11 has developed methods and tools to support this contract-based style of designing and building software for information systems.

Contracts11 has strong roots in Business Modelling, Design Science, and Software Engineering. Typically, Contracts11 starts from process models (using the BPMN standard) to define the business context. Subsequently, a data model (using fact-base modeling) is extracted from the process model. Software is then typically generated from our process- and data models.

Contracts11 has coined this style of developing software systems as “semantic programming”, by which we mean that our programming languages and methods are oriented towards non-technical domain experts with the aim to ensure end-user functionality. Hence, Contracts11 employs a model-driven approach in developing software systems, where end-user validation is an integrated part of this modeling- and design process, right from the start.

Contracts11 employs this “design by contract” paradigm to build software. Contracts11 also aims at developing information systems that focus on implementing contracts as their main objective. Such contracts can pertain to legal, financial, security-related, and system-critical issues.

Contracts11 designs and builds software systems, but also offers consultancy and training courses for IT-experts in contract-based modeling and design.