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On the Use of Programming Knowledge to Understand Informal Process Description

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128653D
Original Publication Date: 1977-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-16
Document File: 9 page(s) / 34K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Robert Balzer: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

1 2. Informal Software Specifications 8 3. Formal Target Specification Language 3 4. Types of Informality 3 5. Structural Informalities 4 A. Domain Acquisition 4 B. Implicit Association 4 C. Passive/Active Recognition 4 D. Plurals 5 E. Verb Definition 5

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

On the Use of Programming Knowledge to Understand Informal Process Description

Robert Balzer Neil Goldman David Wile

ARPA ORDER NO. 2223

ISI/RR-77-63 October 1977 INFORMATION SCIENCES INSTITUTE 46 76 Admiralty tYlaylMarina del ReylCali f ornia 90291 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA fT17 (213) 822-1511

THIS RESEARCH IS SUPPORTED BY THE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY UNDER CONTRACT NO. DAHC75 72 C 0308. ARPA ORDER N0.2223. 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 iv

1. Introduction 1

2. Informal Software Specifications 8

3. Formal Target Specification Language 3

4. Types of Informality 3

5. Structural Informalities 4 A. Domain Acquisition 4 B. Implicit Association 4 C. Passive/Active Recognition 4 D. Plurals 5 E. Verb Definition 5

6. Grouping Informalities 5 A. Relative Sequencing S B. Omitted Action S C. Refinements S

7. Detail Informalities 6 A. Incomplete Reference 6 B. Omitted Operand 7 C. Alternative Block 7
D. Scope of Conditionals ? E. Scope of Demons 7 F. Discovered Parameters 8 G. Implicit Type Conversion 8

8. Conclusion 8

References 9

ABSTRACT

University of Southern California Page 1 Dec 31, 1977

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On the Use of Programming Knowledge to Understand Informal Process Description

The goal of improving and simplifying communication with computers has been pursued largely through the creation and use of better formal languages. This report investigates an alternative approach by exploring the variety and extent of informal constructs which can be introduced into a formal language without impairing communication. These informal constructs represent the suppression of certain explicit information which must be inferred from the surrounding context.

In general, each informal construct has several possible interpretations, only one of which was intended by the speaker. The system's task is to use the existing context to focus attention on a small ordered subset of the most probable alternatives and to further reduce it by applying any constraints or well-formedness rules. The most probable remaining alternative is selected as the intended one.

Program descriptions were chosen as the example task domain to test this approach because its rules of context and well-formedness are fairly well developed and because we, as computer scientists, are our own domain experts.

1. INTRODUCTION

We believe that current communication between people and computers suffers greatly from an artificial rigidity imposed by formal input languages. While it would be more convenient if natural language could be used, that goal has proved most elusive. Instead, we wish to investigate the use of and justify the ne...