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Informality in Program Specifications

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128650D
Original Publication Date: 1977-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-16
Document File: 15 page(s) / 54K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Robert Balzer: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

This research is concerned primarily, with (1) the procedure by which process-oriented specifications are obtained from goal-oriented requirement specifications and (2) computer-based tools for their construction. It first determines some attributes of a suitable process-oriented specification language, then examines the reasons why specifications would still be difficult to write in such a language. The key to overcoming these difficulties seems to be the careful introduction of informality based on partial, rather than complete, descriptions and the use of a computer-based tool that uses context extensively to complete these descriptions during the process of constructing a well-formed specification. Some results obtained by a running prototype of such a computer-based tool on a few informal example specifications are presented and, finally, some of the techniques used by this prototype system are discussed.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Informality in Program Specifications

Robert Balzer Neil Goldman David Wile

ARpA ORDER NO. 2223

ISIIRR-77-59 April 1977 INFORMATION SCIENCES INSTITUTE 4(76 Admiralty WaylMarinadel ReylCalifornia 90291 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (273) 822-1511

THIS RESEARCH IS SUPPORTED BY THE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY UNDER CONTRACT NO. DAHC15 72 C 0308, ARPA ORDER NO. 2223 , PROGRAM CODE NO. 3D30 AND 3P10. VIEWS AND CONCLUSIONS CONTAINED IN THIS STUDY ARE THE AUTHOR'S AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS REPRESENTING THE OFFICIAL OPINION OR POLICY OF ARPA. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR AGENCY CONNECTED WITH THEM.

THIS DOCUMENT APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE AND SALE: DISTRIBUTION IS UNLIMITED.

CONTENTS

Abstract v

1. Introduction 1 2. Attributes of Suitable Process-oriented Specification Languages 2

3. Why Operational Specifications are Hard to Construct 4

4. Semantic Constructs in Natural Language Specification 4 5. Desirability of Informality S 6. Results 8 7. Description of The Prototype System 18

ABSTRACT

This research is concerned primarily, with (1) the procedure by which process-oriented specifications are obtained from goal-oriented requirement specifications and (2) computer- based tools for their construction. It first determines some attributes of a suitable process- oriented specification language, then examines the reasons why specifications would still be difficult to write in such a language. The key to overcoming these difficulties seems to be the careful introduction of informality based on partial, rather than complete, descriptions and the use of a computer-based tool that uses context extensively to complete these descriptions during the process of constructing a well-formed specification. Some results obtained by a running prototype of such a computer-based tool on a few informal example specifications are presented and, finally, some of the techniques used by this prototype system are discussed.

1. INTRODUCTION

University of Southern California Page 1 Dec 31, 1977

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Informality in Program Specifications

A critical step in the development of a software system occurs when its goal-oriented requirements specification is transformed into a process-oriented form that specifies how the requirements are to be achieved. Only after this transformation has occurred can the feasibility of the system be analyzed and the consistency of the process specification with the requirements be verified. The key to this transformation is expressing the process-oriented specification abstractly so that its functionality. is completely determined while the class of possible implementations remains broad.

We believe that such abstract process-oriented specifications are the key to rationalizing the software development process. Such specifications are, in reality, programs written in a very high level abstract programming language. As such, they could pro...