Problem Oriented Software Engineering

Hall, Jon G.; Rapanotti, Lucia and Jackson, Michael (2010). Problem Oriented Software Engineering. Technical Report 2010/03; Department of Computing, The Open University.



A key challenge for software engineering is to learn how to reconcile the formal world of the machine and its software with the non-formal real world. In this paper, we describe Problem Oriented Software Engineering (POSE), an approach that brings both non-formal and formal aspects of software development together within a single theoretical framework for software engineering design. We show how POSE captures development as the recordable and re-playable design theoretic transformation of software problems. Their representation and transformation allows for the identification and clarification of system requirements, the understanding and structuring of the problem world, the structuring and specification of a hard-ware/software machine that can ensure satisfaction of the requirements in the problem world, and the construction of adequacy arguments, convincing both to developers and to customers, users and other interested stake-holders, that the system will provide what is needed. Designs are recordable and re-playable through our adaptation of tactics, a (now standard) form of programming language used in transformational proof theoretic presentations. This brings to our system many other benefits of such approaches, including the ability to abstract from a captured design, and to combine programmatically captured designs. This paper provides an example-driven presentation of our framework for software engineering design.

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