Lightweight Validation of Natural Language Requirements

Gervasi, Vincenzo and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2002). Lightweight Validation of Natural Language Requirements. Software: Practice and Experience, 32(2) pp. 113–133.




In this paper, we report on our experiences of using lightweight formal methods for the partial validation of natural language requirements documents. We describe our approach to checking properties of models obtained by shallow parsing of natural language requirements, and apply it to a case study based on part of a NASA specification of the Node Control Software on the International Space Station. The experience reported supports our position that it is feasible and useful to perform automated analysis of requirements expressed in natural language. Indeed, we identified a number of errors in our case study that were also independently discovered and corrected by NASA's Independent Validation and Verification Facility in a subsequent version of the same document, and others that were not discovered. The paper describes the techniques we used, the errors we found and reflects on the lessons earned.

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