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Relating Problem & Solution Structures Bashar Nuseibeh & Michael Jackson Computing Department, The Open University, UK David Bush National Air Traffic Services, UK The Open University One of the world’s 11 “mega-universities”: The UK’s largest university (200,000+ students)

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relating problem solution structures

Relating Problem & Solution Structures

Bashar Nuseibeh & Michael Jackson

Computing Department, The Open University, UK

David Bush

National Air Traffic Services, UK

the open university
The Open University
  • One of the world’s 11 “mega-universities”:
    • The UK’s largest university (200,000+ students)
    • Specialist in distance education and e-learning
  • Computing Department research areas:
    • Software Engineering
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Educational Technology
requirements architectures
Requirements

Denote stakeholder goals & expectations

Are expressed in the vocabulary of the problem world

Can conflict & change

Architectures

Denote systems’ structure

Are expressed in terms of components & inter-connections in the solution world

Should be stable & robust

Requirements & Architectures
problem and solution structures
Problem and Solution Structures
  • The development process constructs:
    • problem structures (requirements), and
    • solution structures (architecture).
  • For large systems that develop and evolve:
    • there is often a discontinuity between the two structures;
    • this leads to poor traceability of design decisions back to requirements, and inadequate change impact analysis.
research areas
Research Areas
  • Development Processes -
    • There is a need for closer intertwining of requirements & architecture development.
  • Development Products -
    • There is a need to develop and relate patterns of requirements & architecture.
the twin peaks process weaving requirements architectures

ImplementationDependence

Independent

Dependent

General

Level

of

Detail

Detailed

The “Twin Peaks” Process:weaving requirements & architectures

Specification

Requirements

Architecture

problem frames
Problem Frames
  • A problem frame defines the shape of a problem for which there is an known solution.
    • Separates phenomena of “world” from “machine”;
    • separates assumptions (domain properties) from requirements.
  • Simple problem frames can be composed together to produce more complex (and realistic) composite frames.
  • A number of basic problem frames have already been identified by Jackson (2000).
problem and solution patterns

Components

Problem and solution patterns

Requirements

Problem Frames

Architectural Styles

Design Patterns

Architecture

Design

research issues
Research Issues
  • Searching for and identifying (basic & composite) patterns of requirements and architectures in existing ATM systems.
  • Relating these patterns to provide more effective traceability and (change) impact analysis.
  • Using these relationships to provide more effective reuse between different ATM systems and their development.
research methodology
Research Methodology
  • Case study-driven investigation
  • Initially, document-driven analysis
  • Eventually, stakeholder-driven elicitation
  • Precedent: working with NATS on STCA & MSAW.
desirable endpoint
Desirable Endpoint?
  • Architectural stability in the face of inevitable requirements volatility.
  • Maintainable systems though improved change impact analysis, traceability, and reuse.
  • Applicable to technical, socio-technical, and business systems?
architectural styles
Architectural Styles
  • Architectural styles define the shape or structure of a solution that has some known characteristics.
  • Describe components & interconnection types.
  • An architecture is a particular instance of an architectural style.
  • Examples: pipe-and-filter and blackboard.