Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jane Huffman Hayes

Second Advisor

Dr. Mirosław Truszczyński

Abstract

Successful software engineering practice requires high quality requirements. Inconsistency is one of the main requirement issues that may prevent software projects from being success. This is particularly onerous when the requirements concern temporal constraints. Manual checking whether temporal requirements are consistent is tedious and error prone when the number of requirements is large. This dissertation addresses the problem of identifying inconsistencies in temporal requirements expressed as natural language text. The goal of this research is to create an efficient, partially automated, approach for checking temporal consistency of natural language requirements and to minimize analysts' workload.

The key contributions of this dissertation are as follows: (1) Development of a partially automated approach for checking temporal consistency of natural language requirements. (2) Creation of a formal language Temporal Action Language (TeAL), which provide a means to represent natural language requirements precisely and unambiguously. (3) Development of a front end to semi-automatically translate natural language requirements into TeAL. (4) Development of a translator from TeAL to the ASP language.

Validation results to date show that the front end tool makes the task of translating natural language requirements into TeAL more accurate and efficient, and the translator generates ASP programs that correctly detect the inconsistencies in the requirements.

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