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RWTH Aachen

Partial Behaviour Modelling: Foundations for Incremental and Iterative Model-Based Software Engineering

Although software behaviour modelling and analysis has been shown to be successful in uncovering subtle requirements and design errors, adoption by practitioners has been slow. One of the reasons for this is that traditional approaches to behaviour models are required to be complete descriptions of the system behaviour up to some level of abstraction, i.e., the transition system is assumed to completely describe the system behaviour with respect to a fixed alphabet of actions. This completeness assumption is limiting in the context of software development process best practices which include iterative development, adoption of use-case and scenario-based techniques and viewpoint- or stakeholder-based analysis; practices which require modelling and analysis in the presence of partial information about system behaviour.

We believe that there is much to be gained by shifting the focus in software engineering from traditional behaviour models to partial behaviour models, i.e. operational descriptions that are capable of distinguishing known behaviour (both required and proscribed) from unknown behaviour that is yet to be elicited. Our overall aim is to develop the foundations, techniques and tools that will enable the automated construction of partial behaviour models from multiple sources of partial specifications, the provision of early feedback through automated partial behaviour model analysis, and the support incremental, iterative elaboration of behaviour models.

In this talk, I will highlight some of the results obtained in this line of research.

Joint work with Sebastian Uchitel and many students at the University of Toronto, University of Buenos Aires, and Imperial College London.

Marsha Chechik is currently Professor and Bell University Labs Chair in Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. She is also Vice Chair of the Department. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1996. Prof. Chechik's research interests are in the application of formal methods to improve the quality of software. She has authored over 100 papers in formal methods, software specification and verification, computer security and requirements engineering. In 2002-2003, Prof. Chechik was a visiting scientist at Lucent Technologies in Murray Hill, NY and at Imperial College, London UK, and in 2013 -- at Stonybrook University. She is an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 2003-2007, 2010-present. She is a member of IFIP WG 2.9 on Requirements Engineering and an Associate Editor of Journal on Software and Systems Modeling. She regularly serves on program committees of international conferences in the areas of software engineering and automated verification. Marsha Chechik is a PC Co-Chair of the 2014 International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE). She was a Co-Chair of the 2008 International Conference on Concurrency Theory (CONCUR), Program Committee Co-Chair of the 2008 International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering (CASCON), and Program Committee Co-Chair of the 2009 International Conference on Formal Aspects of Software Engineering (FASE). She is a Member of ACM SIGSOFT and the IEEE Computer Society.