Architecture of AIBench

The next figure shows an overview of the AIBench framework. The green zone indicates that the Operations programmer role (which is the regular user of the framework) has to develop his own Operations, Datatypes and Views. The red zone shows that the core programmer role maintains the Core and the Workbench (detailed later). Normally, you will program your application acting as an Operations programmer.


In summary, the Operations programmer builds this type of artifacts:

  • Operations. The units of logic (see Creating Operations).
  • Datatypes. Normal Java classes used as input and output of the Operations (see Creating Operations).
  • Views. Classes that inherits from JComponent and are used to display the Datatypes inside the Workbench (see Creating Views).

Plugin-based architecture

AIBench uses a plugin engine to provide advanced capabilities, such as dynamic discovering and loading of your Operations at the application startup. You need to know the basics of this engine in order to develop applications with AIBench. Concretely, what you need about AIBench plugins is:

  • A plugin is a set of classes, isolated (by default) from the rest classes belonging to other plugins.
  • A plugin can define extension points (the yellow circles in the figure). An extension point is a place where other plugins can be connected to and then discovered and used at run-time. Optionally, an extension point could establish a Java interface that must be implemented by the plugins connected to it.
  • A plugin can use the classes from other plugin only if a dependency from the first to the second has been defined.

AIBench is based on plugins. Not only AIBench-based applications are structured on plugins (see Creating multi-plugin AIBench applications), but also the internals of the framework. There are two main built-in plugins:

  • Core plugin. Registers your operations, executes them upon user requests, and collects their results. Inside this plugin, the Clipboard keeps track of all generated results, and the History saves all the operations that have been executed in order to repeat all the session in the future.
  • Workbench plugin. Implements User Interface for AIBench applications using Java Swing. Its main responsibility is to display operations in menus, retrieve user parameters via automatically-generated dialogs, displays the Clipboard and History contents and brings-up Views of data when user requests it.

These two plugins are communicated internally by an extension point (the top one in the last figure), but this is out of the scope of this document.

Also, the Core plugin implements the extensible AIBench Operation Model by the definition of an extension point called AIBench.core.operation-definition. In order to add Operations to AIBench, you have to put them in a plugin and connect it to this extension point. There is not any required interface to implement.

The Workbench plugin implements the Workbench user interface and also defines an extension point called AIBench.core.workbench.view. To register a view component associated with a Datatype, you have to put your component in a plugin and connect it to this extension point. There is not any required interface to implement. The user Datatypes have to be placed inside a plugin, but this plugin doesn’t need to be connected to any extension point. (Please note that if some of your Operations use these Datatypes and reside in other plugins, they must depend on this plugin).

You can take advantage of this plugin architecture for your applications. See Creating multi-plugin AIBench applications.

The plugin.xml file

The connection and dependency between plugins is made through the plugin.xml file present in every plugin (located at src/main/resources). Here is an example of a plugin.xml file.

<plugin start="false">
  <name>GeneCBR's DFP</name>

  <!-- DEPENDENCIES: This plugin depends in other that define
  some data-types needed by the operations present in this plugin -->
    <dependency uid="sing.datatypes"/>

  <!-- EXTENSIONS: The extensions that this plugin in connected to -->

    <!-- EXTESION 1. Each Operation is plugged in the CORE with its
    AIBench.core.operation- definition extension -->

      <!-- Additional operation info -->
      name="Discriminant Fuzzy Patterns Filtering"
      uid= "geneCBR.preprocessing.dfp"
      path="3@Preprocessing/1@Feature selection/"/>

    <!--EXTENSION 2. The Graphical-related information is given
    extending the Workbench with its AIBench.workbench.view extension -->
      name="aibench.workbench.view" >


            name="Feature Selection Results View"



In the example, you can see that:

  • The plugin has an unique identifier (uid), that is useful to reference this plugin from others.

  • The plugin defines its dependencies on others with the <dependencies> and <dependency> tags.

  • The plugin is connected to extension points using the <extensions> and <extension> tags.


    Where is the plugin.xml file? It is located in src/main/resources folder.

AIBench application directory

Once you build your application, a directory structure is created inside target/dist:

├── conf
│   ├── aibench.conf
│   ├── core.conf
│   ├── log4jconfig
│   ├── pluginmanager.conf
│   ├── plugins.conf
│   ├── template.xml
│   └── workbench.conf
├── lib
│   ├── aibench-aibench-2.8.0-SNAPSHOT.jar
│   ├── javatar-2.5.jar
│   ├── jhall-2.0.jar
│   └── log4j-1.2.12.jar
├── plugins_bin
│   ├── aibench-core-[version].jar
│   ├── aibench-pluginmanager-[version].jar
│   ├── aibench-shell-[version].jar
│   ├── aibench-workbench-[version].jar
│   └── my-aibench-application
│       ├── es
│       │   └── uvigo
│       │       └── ei
│       │           └── sing
│       │               └── Sum.class
│       └── plugin.xml
├── run.bat

This structure is composed of the following items:

  • conf directory. The configuration files. The come from the src/main/global-resources/conf source directory.

  • lib directory. AIBench Core-libraries.

  • plugins_bin. Plugins conforming the application. The plugins coming from another project appear as .jar files.

    • The plugin of the current project appears as a directory (in the example my-aibench-application). Inside this plugin goes the compiled Java code, as well as plugin resources, coming from the src/main/java and src/main/resources source directories.
  • Launch scripts (run.bat and, coming from the src/main/global-resources source directory.