The term application system describes a piece of software supporting one or several vital business activities of an enterprise. Typically, such a system portrays essential parts of the business activities, processes large amounts of persistent data, enables many users to operate simultaneously with the system, and exchanges information with similar systems. An application system directly supports the business activities and thus, high demands are made regarding its availability, scalability, robustness and performance.
The IAAS is concerned with the architecture of such systems, their underlying structure: What kinds of building blocks are needed to build up such a system and make its characteristics work? In this context, the institute is concerned with middleware on the one hand - meaning both middleware as such as well as its usage - on the other hand, it investigates various aspects of application system modelling from an architectural point of view.
In order to enable proper support of the various business activities of enterprises, the institute investigates the role of business processes in application systems. The IAAS discusses the modelling of business processes and the middleware needed to support them (so-called workflow systems or process management systems). Business processes are considered as "programs in the large" and the composition of applications via business processes is investigated in terms of functionality as well as quality of service properties
In addition, integration technologies are investigated that support the exchange between various application systems: Here, messaging systems and Web services (SOC, SOA, WS*) are the focus of IAAS. The importance of integration technologies for application systems is even more emphasized by the fact that an application system often consists of other application systems, and that these technologies are needed to perform automatic interaction between various enterprises.
To support the operational requirements applications systems must meet, the relevance of Grid- and Cloud-technologies for application systems is investigated (availability, scalability, provisioning). Transaction models are discussed to ensure the robustness of application systems. In addition, the IAAS studies various possibilities for optimizing the execution of business processes (performance).
These topics are reflected in both, the research projects as well as in the various courses of the institute.
Structure of the Curriculum
The structure of the curriculum at IAAS is roughly shown in the following picture:
These lectures are supplemented by special lectures like "Services & Service Composition" or "Service Management & Cloud Computing".
The role of key integration technologies corresponding to the layers of an application system and the relation to the curriculum is depicted in the next figure: