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UML FAQ: Who created UML and how did it get its name?

The short answer is that the Unified Modeling Language (UML) originated from the fusion of the three leading object methods of the early 1990's: Grady Booch's Booch Method, James Rumbaugh's Object Modeling Technique, and Ivar Jacobson's Objectory method.

However, a longer and more accurate answer follows. James Rumbaugh, the primary methodologist for the Object Modeling Technique (OMT) method, joined Grady Booch, the Chief Scientist at Rational Software who authored the Booch Method, at Rational Software in 1994. At Rational Software Booch and Rumbaugh collaborated on the Unified Method v. 0.8, which combined their object modeling method notations and was released at the Object-Oriented Programming and LAnguages (OOPSLA) conference in 1995. After realizing that the problem of unifying their object modeling notations was more tractable than unifying their methods, Booch and Rumbaugh were joined by Ivar Jacobson, the primary methodologist for the Objectory method, at Rational Software at 1995. These three object modeling methodologists, were collectively referred to as the "Three Amigos".


Seeing the business opportunity to exploit UML standardization leadership to further its marketing strategy for Rational Rose and other software development tools, Rational organized the UML Partners consortium in 1996 to respond to the OMG's RFP for object modeling tool interoperability. The original UML Partners consortium consisted of a strategic mix of software tool vendors and systems integrators, including Rational Software Corporation, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Texas Instruments, MCI Systemhouse, Unisys, ICON Computing, and Intellicorp. At first the Three Amigos functioned as technical co-chairs and Ed Eykholt, a Rational employee, was the project leader. The UML Partners' UML 1.0 specification draft was proposed to the Object Management Group (OMG) in January 1997, but its semantics were considered inadequate for OMG adoption. Consequently, the Three Amigos asked Cris Kobryn, who was then a Chief Scientist at MCI Systemhouse with expertise in AI linguistics and formal languages, to chair a UML Semantic Task Force to finalize UML semantics and integrate them with related OMG standardization efforts. The result of this work, UML 1.1, was submitted to the OMG in August 1997 and was formally adopted by the OMG in November 1997.

UML2 Postscript: Kobryn went on to chair the UML Revision Task Force that specified the UML 1.2-1.4 minor revisions (1997-2002). During 2000-2003 he organized and chaired the UML2 Partners consortium, which successfully specified a UML 2.0 major revision that was formally adopted by the OMG in 2003. During 2003-2006 Kobryn chaired the SysML open source specification project, which specified the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) dialect of UML for Systems Engineering applications.