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Using abduction and induction for operational requirements elaboration

Dalal Alrajeh, Oliver Ray, Alessandra Russo, Sebastian Uchitel, Using abduction and induction for operational requirements elaboration. Journal of Applied Logic, 7(3), pp. 275–288. September 2009. PDF, 248 Kbytes.


Requirements Engineering involves the elicitation of high-level stakeholder goals and their refinement into operational system requirements. A key difficulty is that stakeholders typically convey their goals indirectly through intuitive narrative-style scenarios of desirable and undesirable system behaviour, whereas goal refinement methods usually require goals to be expressed declaratively using, for instance, a temporal logic. In actual software engineering practice, the extraction of formal requirements from scenario-based descriptions is a tedious and error-prone process that would benefit from automated tool support. This paper presents an Inductive Logic Programming method for inferring operational requirements from a set of example scenarios and an initial but incomplete requirements specification. The approach is based on translating the specification and the scenarios into an event-based logic programming formalism and using a non-monotonic reasoning system, called eXtended Hybrid Abductive Inductive Learning, to automatically infer a set of event pre-conditions and trigger-conditions that cover all desirable scenarios and reject all undesirable ones. This learning task is a novel application of logic programming to requirements engineering that also demonstrates the utility of non-monotonic learning capturing pre-conditions and trigger-conditions.

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