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“Change” in Conceptual Modeling and Systems Reconfiguration


Sabah Al-Fedaghi


Vol. 22  No. 4  pp. 481-490


In this paper, we explore the notion of change in systems and software engineering, emphasizing its philosophical elucidation. Generally, it has been claimed that change is so pervasive in systems that it almost defeats description and analysis. In this article, we analyze change using the conceptual modeling technique called a thinging machine (TM), which reflects change in terms of the actions of creating, processing, releasing, transferring, and receiving things. We illustrated change in TM modeling with an example of a system’s reconfiguration of business product handling designed using business process modeling notation (BPMN). Then we analyze the notion of change and compare its various definitions in philosophy. Specifically, we examine Zeno’s paradox that involves how to account for change and continuity together in moving things. The problem is that we cannot assert that an arrow is actually moving when it has been shot from a bow because the arrow needs to be at a certain place at each point in time, which by definition cannot contain any duration at all. In our analysis of this problem, we convert the arrow trajectory into space units called thimacs. In the TM generic actions, two types of change are identified: state and progression (PROCESS) changes. Therefore, when an arrow flows to a TM machine that represents a trajectory space unit, it is rejected, causing it to bounce away to the outside. That is, the arrow is transferred, arrives, and is transferred back; therefore, the arrow is never accepted into a thimac in the trajectory at any moment. The result of such analysis seems to introduce a logical explanation for the notion of movement discussed in Zeno’s puzzles.


Conceptual modeling, change, thinging machine model, Reconfiguration, Zeno’s paradox