Formal requirements specifications play an important role in enhancing the reliability and effectiveness of software development. They provide a precise, unambiguous standard for the construction of a system and raise the confidence in a planned system by enabling a proper mathematical analysis of its requirements. The construction of formal specifications can be effectively supported by computer based tools if those tools are suitably tuned to the logic of composing specifications. In this paper we discuss the possibility of providing 'intelligent' assistance during the incremental construction of well designed and reliable algebraic specifications of complex (software) systems. Based on a model of the specification process, we show how the demand to preserve certain properties in the evolving specification can be exploited to design functions of a specification tool which assist the process in an effective manner.
Author and article information
Dept. of Computer Science, University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland