Problem frame semantics for software development

Hall, Jon G.; Rapanotti, Lucia and Jackson, Michael (2005). Problem frame semantics for software development. Journal of Software and Systems Modeling, 4(2) pp. 189–198.




This paper presents a framework for understanding Problem Frames that locates them within the Requirements Engineering model of Zave and Jackson, and its subsequent formalization in the Reference Model of Gunter et al. It distinguishes between problem frames, context diagrams and problem diagrams, and allows us to formally define the relationship between them as assumed in the Problem Frames framework.

The semantics of a problem diagram is given in terms of `challenges', a notion that we also introduce. The notion of a challenge is interesting in its own right for two reasons: its proof theoretic derivation leads us to consider a challenge calculus that might underpin the Problem Frame operations of decomposition and recomposition; and it promises to extend the notion of formal refinement from software development to requirements engineering.

In addition, the semantics supports a textual representation of the diagrams in which Problem Frames capture problems and their relationship to solutions. This could open the way for graphical Problem Frames tools.

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