CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (CISD)


College of Engineering and Computing


Michael J. Lazlo

Committee Member

Francisco J. Mitropoulos

Committee Member

Amon B. Seagull


Computer science


The dissertation proposes, presents and analyzes a new design pattern, the Mutable Class pattern, to support the processing of large-scale heterogeneous data models with multiple families of algorithms. Handling data-algorithm associations represents an important topic across a variety of application domains. As a result, it has been addressed by multiple approaches, including the Visitor pattern and the aspect-oriented programming (AOP) paradigm. Existing solutions, however, bring additional constraints and issues. For example, the Visitor pattern freezes the class hierarchies of application models and the AOP-based projects, such as Spring AOP, introduce significant overhead for processing large-scale models with fine-grain objects. The Mutable Class pattern addresses the limitations of these solutions by providing an alternative approach designed after the Class model of the UML specification. Technically, it extends a data model class with a class mutator supporting the interchangeability of operations.

Design patterns represent reusable solutions to recurring problems. According to the design pattern methodology, the definition of these solutions encompasses multiple topics, such as the problem and applicability, structure, collaborations among participants, consequences, implementation aspects, and relation with other patterns. The dissertation provides a formal description of the Mutable Class pattern for processing heterogeneous tree-based models and elaborates on it with a comprehensive analysis in the context of several applications and alternative solutions. Particularly, the commonality of the problem and reusability of this approach is demonstrated and evaluated within two application domains: computational accelerator physics and compiler construction. Furthermore, as a core part of the Unified Accelerator Library (UAL) framework, the scalability boundary of the pattern has been challenged and explored with different categories of application architectures and computational infrastructures including distributed three-tier systems.

The Mutable Class pattern targets a common problem arising from software engineering: the evolution of type systems and associated algorithms. Future research includes applying this design pattern in other contexts, such as heterogeneous information networks and large-scale processing platforms, and examining variations and alternative design patterns for solving related classes of problems.