Deriving specifications from requirements through problem reduction

Rapanotti, L.; Hall, J. G. and Li, Z. (2006). Deriving specifications from requirements through problem reduction. IEE Proceedings: Software, 153(5) pp. 183–198.



Software problems – problems whose solution is software-intensive – come in many forms. Given that software and computers are deeply embedded in society, one general characteristic of software problems is that their early requirements are expressed ‘deep into the world’, that is, in terms that end-users and other stake-holders would recognise and understand. The developer is left with the difficult task of interpreting such requirements closer to the software solution.Problem reduction is proposed as a systematic transformation for deriving specifications from requirements in the context of problem-oriented analysis. It allows the context of a problem to be simplified while re-expressing the requirement. It was applied in the context of Problem Frames and argued that it can be used as a systematic way of deriving specification statements from requirement statements via a sequence of transformed problems. The approach is illustrated in two examples.

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