Fundamental Modeling Concepts (FMC) provide a framework to describe software-intensive systems. It strongly emphasizes the communication about software-intensive systems by using a semi-formal graphical notation that can easily be understood.


FMC distinguishes three perspectives to look at a software system:
Structure of the system
Processes in the system
Value domains of the system

FMC defines a dedicated diagram type for each perspective. FMC diagrams use a simple and lean notation. The purpose of FMC diagrams is to facilitate the communication about a software system, not only between technical experts but also between technical experts and business or domain experts. The comprehensibility of FMC diagrams has made them famous among its supporters.

The common approach when working with FMC is to start with a high-level diagram of the compositional structure of a system. This “big picture” diagram serves as a reference in the communication with all involved stakeholders of the project. Later on, the high-level diagram is iteratively refined to model technical details of the system. Complementary diagrams for processes observed in the system or value domains found in the system are introduced as needed.

Diagram Types

FMC uses three diagram types to model different aspects of a system:

  • Compositional Structure Diagram depicts the static structure of a system. This diagram type is also known as FMC Block Diagram
  • Dynamic Structure Diagram depicts processes that can be observed in a system. This diagram type is also known as FMC Petri-net
  • Value Range Structure Diagram depicts structures of values found in the system. This diagram type is also known as FMC E/R Diagram

All FMC diagrams are bipartite graphs. Each Bipartite graph consists of two disjoint sets of vertices with the condition that no vertex is connected to another vertex of the same set. In FMC diagrams, members of one set are represented by angular shapes, and members of the other set are represented by curved shapes. Each element in an FMC diagram can be refined by another diagram of the same type, provided that the combined graph is also bipartite. This mechanism allows modeling all relevant layers of abstraction with the same notation.

See also


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