Publication date: 
Faculty of Information Technology of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU FIT) in cooperation with the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) in Belgium presents the newly established Standardized Systems Laboratory (NSLab). The primary goal of this research facility will be to improve evolvability and sustainability in the ever-changing software development environment. The NSLab will be dedicated to the development and support of research in a variety of software solutions.


The laboratory will be used primarily to support science and to collaborate with commercial entities or research institutions to improve the adaptability, timeliness and durability of software systems using innovative techniques and modern technologies. The newly established NSlab plans to address and develop opportunities similar to those addressed in projects by UAntwerp scientists. They are, for example, working on drone control systems, solar panel monitoring or developing IT applications for the province of Antwerp, which is responsible for spatial planning, environment, economy. In practice, these solutions range from enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, eCommerce), tools for data warehouses, machine-actionable specifications or solutions for efficient document generation. (Meta)modelling and the generation of standardised systems has a wide range of applications, especially in areas where it is necessary to adapt to changing requirements and technological advances.

"NSlab is committed to exploring and developing metamodeling techniques with a particular emphasis on solving complex real-world problems. However, the lab's activities do not stop at research. We actively contribute to education, offering engaging topics for bachelor, master and thesis theses. We encourage student participation through collaborative projects that provide valuable hands-on experience and opportunities for intellectual growth. Join us and explore the dynamic world of metamodeling, which has the potential to revolutionize software engineering," encourages students Ing. Marek Suchánek, Ph.D. et Ph.D., head of the NsLab at FIT CTU.

Evolvability is the ability of software to adapt, expand and improve during its life cycle. It is important because it allows software to adapt to new requirements, use newer versions of related technologies, fix bugs, improve performance and add new features without requiring a complete rewrite of the system.

Metamodeling in software engineering is the process of creating and using metamodels. In the context of software solutions, this means that a metamodel specifies what elements and constraints can be used to create specific models of applications or systems. The NSLab will focus on improving the sustainability of various software solutions by developing tools and techniques for creating more efficient and durable software systems specifically with a specialization in metamodeling. Ultimately, the scientific work will focus on improving the durability of software applications through innovative approaches and advanced technologies.

"The creation of the NSLab at the FIT CTU is a milestone in the research of standardized systems and their growing application in industry. Since 2015, the collaboration between FIT CTU and UAntwerp has focused on research and education, including joint publications, Double Degree programs, bachelor and master theses, and collaborative research. The NSLab opens up new possibilities by providing a venue for international gatherings of students, researchers and industry representatives to jointly realize breakthrough synergies aimed at new levels of evolving modularity and sustainability in software systems," say Prof. Jan Verelst and Prof. Herwig Mannaert from UAntwerp.

The informal cooperation with UAntwerp and FIT CTU started 10 years ago through the activities of the research group Centre for Conceptual Modelling and Implementation (CCMi), with Belgian Professor Verelst and Mannaert. Since the beginning of the cooperation, a joint course Normalized Software Systems has been taught at the CTU FIT, which introduces students to the principles of normalized systems and their application in practice. This course is taught by professors from UAntwerp together with professors from FIT CTU. As part of this collaboration, a summer school is also held at FIT CTU together with the NSX spin-off. In 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between FIT CTU and UAntwerp, thus starting the preparation of the Double Degree Doctoral Programme. This was followed four years later by the launch of the Double Degree Master's degree programme. The first successful graduate of the Double Degree PhD programme was the current head of the NSLab Marek Suchánek.

The launch of the Master's specialization in Digital Business Engineering (DBE), the Double Degree doctoral program and the approval of the new research laboratory represent the culmination of a decade-long effort of intensive cooperation between FIT CTU and UAntwerp in the field of science and teaching. The NSLab will thus contribute to the ecosystem of standardized systems. NSlab also plans to collaborate and involve other scientific institutions, not only from Europe, in its research. By finding new opportunities in current domestic and international projects (ELIXIR, NRP, OSTrails) and collaborating with commercial entities, the new lab will gain support for its further R&D and build awareness of its existence.

Contact person: 
Ivana Macnarová