Description of the CE-IQS project

The expertise centre for engineering and quality of systems

Description of the CE-IQS project

The expertise centre for engineering and quality of systems

CE-IQS is the expertise centre for engineering and quality of systems. Its objective is to provide Walloon ICT enterprises with an advanced expertise for developing software based systems. The performance and competitiveness of the industrial network relies ever more on mastering of information and communication technologies. This yields for all key economic sectors such as logistics, mechanics, pharmaceutics, aeronautics,… SMEs are especially vulnerable given the low resource level they can allocate to R&D in this domain. CE-IQS is an answer to this need by closely associating ICT enterprises to innovative research carried out by a strong applied research consortium composed of major research centers and universities active in this field.


The CE-IQS project is providing applied research services to enterprises through a structured set of applied research activities involving specialized partners among the involved universities and research centers. Any enterprise in Wallonia can be associated with the research of the centre through the filling of a simple file describing their needs. Those will be matched and help focus one or several research tasks of CE-IQS structured around five main themes.

Theme 1 : methodologies for system development and evolution. In this theme, state of the art methodologies for system development will be investigated, especially with the aim of easing their evolution. In particular, specific activities will be devoted to model-driven development at earlier stage than code (architecture, requirements) and software products lines. CE-IQS will not only provide business methods but also investigate related productivity tools to maintain and improve the control of systems throughout their life. A specific focus will also be devoted to the study of embedded system.

Theme 2 : strategies of verification, validation and quality assessment of systems. The objective is to improve quality assurance practices, especially related to testing in order to allow cost reduction, better quality and quicker time to market. More specifically, this theme investigates techniques for identifying optimal test coverage related to code quality, for precisely assessing that coverage and for automating the test process based on a number of techniques, including model-based testing. A complementary task related to design time verification is also investigated.

Theme 3 : certification is required in a growing number of applications with critical aspects, such as security or dependability ; moreover assurance levels are also constantly increasing due to the ubiquitous presence of software in current systems. A number of standards define the certification rules to be met such as the common criteria (IEC/ISO 15408) for security IT, DO-178B in aeronautics. The CE-IQS will help companies to get ready for certification through all phases of the project and especially to raise required practices. This will also enable them to reach new markets. CE-IQS will also be the relay of the enterprises to defend their interests in the international committees that develop and evolve standards. Belgian eID application will also be considered for this point of view.

Theme 4 : distributed and embedded systems. Software systems are increasingly interconnected through a variety of network. This results in richer but also more complex to design systems. A variety of such systems are actively investigated :

  • Service oriented applications (SOA) composed in highly dynamic business chains which enable new competitive business models based on networks of companies of all size, including SMEs.
  • Grids applications enabling on-demand access to resources and performance that scale.
  • Embedded communicating systems relying combining wireless, low consumption, and intelligent sensors and processing devices.

Theme 5 : semantic information processing. At the age of information, being able to filter, organize and process information is critical for many companies relying on it for their business. The aim of this theme is to identify, adapt and further develop new processing technologies such as search engines, indexers and OCR to the need of those companies.

CETIC key responsibilities on the project

CETIC is coordinating the CE-IQS portfolio and is responsible of the active involvement of SMEs in projects activities. CETIC is also leading the main research themes and is triggering specific dissemination activities directed towards the enterprises.

Project key results

The applied research conducted by the CE-IQS typically involves an industrial prototype or methodological deployment that results in an effective transfer to the partnering companies. These are the main achievements of the CE-IQS in 2010, including examples of results transfer to the industrial partners :

  • The research conducted on the development and evolution methodologies theme addressed the topic of Agile software development processes. Unlike the heavyweight, monolithic methods, the Agile methods favour team interaction over a strict process, and on reactivity over a locked-in plan. Therefore, they are of value for small IT software development structures.
  • The verification and validation theme focused on test design activities, with the aim of easing the production of high-quality tests, taking domain-specifi c knowledge into account. It is based on the elaboration of a structured library of test patterns which helps to capture, manage and transfer the know-how about testing in a test team. A toolset was also developed to help in the instantiation of this pattern library on a specifi c project in order to produce high quality test design and test plan documents.
  • The certification activities theme covered a wide range of problems. The OWPL method, related to the assessment of IT development practices, is being deployed more and more, as it closely matches the level of granularity required by Walloon SMEs and can help them improve. The COSMIC function point evaluation method, related to development effort estimation, is increasingly being transferred to SMEs based on training and coaching needs. Some organisations have even achieved autonomy in this area. In terms of security, specific risk analysis techniques have been circulated several times now, across the whole of Wallonia (SPI+, ASE, BEP, CCI, etc.). In terms of safety, training to the DO-178B aeronautics standard was organised. Finally, CETIC remained very active in representing SME needs on standardisation committees, such as the national SC27 security group, the BISI initiative and the international committee, ISO/IEC-SC7 (specifically, WG6 on quality and WG24 on SME software processes).
  • Within the distributed systems application theme, the area of Service Oriented Knowledge Utilities (SOKU) was investigated, with a specific focus on server virtualisation, which was subsequently extended to cloud computing.
  • Within the embedded systems application theme, heterogeneous wireless systems were investigated, with the focus on lowering power consumption. Several computing architectures were studied to compare their effi ciency. An industrial case study was conducted to optimise the performances of a telecom board : various computing
    architectures were compared and combined to achieve the best performance/consumption ratio.
  • Finally, within the intelligent content and semantics application theme, many pilots were demonstrated, using a wide variety of content management technologies. Semantic technologies were used successfully for the fi rst time on industrial cases, drawing a great deal of interest from project partners.