Mereology, i.e. ‘theory of parts’ is a substantial element of every design process, but the standard mathematics lacks the strong formal concept of being a “part of”. Classical mereologies of (Leśniewski 1916-37) or (Leonard-Goodman 1930-50) work nicely in philosophy and cognitive sciences but they are difficult to fit to applications in science and engineering. Leśniewski’s systems are different from the standard set theory, Leonard and Goodman's model is too rigid for most of the potential science and engineering applications.

 In the last two decades several extensions and/or modifications aimed in such applications have been proposed, the most important seem to be versions of (Forrest 2002, Meirav 2003, Salustri-Lockledge 1999), powerful rough mereology of (Polkowski-Skowron 2000) and ‘pragmatic mereology’ of (Janicki-Lee 2006-8). The last one also shows applications to elements of software engineering (a concept of ‘software component’), and studies connections between mereology and category theory.

This topic is currently dormant, but it can awaken anytime, especially is potential grad students would be interested in. There is a lot of potential applications in software engineering were ‘building a whole from parts’ is a fundamental paradigm which still lacks solid theoretical foundations.

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  1. D.T.M. Le, R. Janicki, A Categorical Approach to Mereology and Its Application to Modelling Software Components, Transactions on Rough Sets 8 (2008), 146-174.


  1. R. Janicki, D.T.M. Le, Towards a Pragmatic Mereology, Fundamenta Informaticae 75, 1– 4 (2007), 295-314.


  1. D.T.M. Le, R. Janicki, On a Parthood Specification Method for Component Software, Proc. of RSCTC’2006 (Rough Sets and Current Trends in Computing), Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 4259, Springer 2006, 537-546


  1. R. Janicki, Basic Mereology with Equivalence Relations, Proc. of MFCS’2005 (Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3618, Springer 2005, 507-519.

  2. R. Janicki, Mereology for Software Engineering, Proc. of the 35th CIE’2005 (Computers and Industrial Engineering), Istanbul, Turkey 2005, Volume I, pp. 1017-1038.


  1. R. Janicki, Y. Zhai, On Properties of “Part of” Relations, Proc. of SERP’2004 (Software Engineering Research and Practice), Las Vegas, USA, 2004,  1pp. 393-399.


  1. R. Janicki, Remarks on Mereology of Direct Product and Relations, In J. Desharnais, M. Frappier, W. MacCaull (eds.) Relational Methods in Computer Science, Methodos Publ. 2002, pp. 65-84.

  2. R. Janicki, Towards a Mereological System for Direct Product and Relations, Proc. of RSCTC’2002 (Rough Sets and Current Trends in Computing), Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 2475, Springer 2002, 113-122.

  3. R. Janicki, On a Mereological System for Relational Software Specifications, Proc. of MFCS’02 (Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science), Lecture Notes in Computer Science 2420, Springer 2002, 375-386.

  4. R. Janicki, Y. Zhang, A Simplistic Mereological System for Relations, Proc. of ICAI’2002 (International Conference on Artificial Intelligence), vol. II, Las Vegas, USA, 2002, pp. 1206-1212.


  1. R. Janicki, R. Khédri, On Mereology of Relation Algebras, Proc. of RelMiCS'2000 (Relational Methods in Computer Science), Quebec City, Canada, 2000, pp. 133-140.

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