MEALS was a hugely succesful mobility project between Europe and Argentina, supported by the European Commission. The project was coordinated by Holger Hermanns at Saarland University with Pedro R. D’Argenio acting as coordinator on the Argentinian side. The project was financed by the 7th Framework programme under Marie Curie’s International Research Staff Exchange Scheme, and has offered Argentinian and European researchers the possibility to jointly carry out their project by exchanging research visits in this four-years programme. The project started on 1st of October, 2011, and terminated on September 30, 2015. It involved 11 scientific and academic institutions, seven from Europe and four from Argentina, comprising a total of about 100 researchers.
The participating researchers joined their efforts to formulate advanced methods for formal specifications that help with the development and implementation of computer systems and software. These specifications are “formal” in the sense that they are expressed in a language whose vocabulary, syntax and semantics are formally defined. In other words, the specifications language is based on mathematics.
Within this project, mathematics-based tools and techniques were developed to describe any computer system and aid in its design. These include tools to model and analyse different types of systems, including embedded controllers, distributed systems and web services, in order to study key properties related to functional correctness, security issues, performance profiles, fault tolerance, and many other nowadays indispensable features.
During the project duration of four years, MEALS has been the source network for a total of at least 329 peer-reviewed publications in conferences or journals. Five carefully planned MEALS gatherings, workshops and dissemination events gave the project an effective structure for knowledge transfer, community building, and result dissemination, aimed at a sustained transcontinental collaboration. These events provided the central opportunities for presenting, discussing, relating and expanding the three foci of the project: specification, verification, and synthesis. The ideas were further developed through more than 180 transatlantic research visits and intensive and frequent teleconferencing.