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2012 Technical Reports

Precise Documentation of Requirements and Executable Specifications

Jonathan S. Ostroff, Chen-Wei Wang and Simon Hudon

Technical Report CSE-2012-03

York University

June 11 2012


We propose a format for precise documentation of requirements to drive the development of dependable software products and to provide evidence for their certification. Requirements are elicited from customers and expressed informally as atomic English descriptions. To analyze the consistency of the requirements, we translate them into a software specification consisting of model contracts and tabular expressions. Model contracts describe queries as pre/post-conditions using mathematical constructs (e.g. quantifiers, sets, relations, sequences) which make them more expressive than classical implementation contracts. Tabular expressions use these queries to provide complete black-box descriptions of the system input-output relation. We validate the requirements via proofs of (a) the completeness, disjointness, and well-definedness of the specification and (b) the consistency between the specification and the atomic requirements. The model contracts are translated into an executable specification using MSL (model specification language). The executable specification plays a dual role. Even before code production, the specification is used to validate the requirements. Once the code is produced, we verify that the code satisfies the specification via runtime assertion checking.

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