Building an Ontological Model for Software Requirements Engineering

Building an Ontological Model for Software Requirements Engineering

Joselice Ferreira Lima (University of Brasilia (UnB), Brazil), Bruno Paula Garcia (Federal Institute of Technology North of Minas Gerais (IFTNMG), Brazil) and Gustavo Miranda Caran (Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUCMG), Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3664-4.ch003
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This chapter is a work about the development of a model for the engineering requirement based on ontology. The development patterns are not used efficiently, especially for non-observance of the principles of requirements engineering. The overall objective of the chapter is to propose the use of an ontology based on the artifacts of software requirements engineering and can be used on any project developed in any organization. The method uses experimental procedures, which are held in experiments with real situations in a project in progress at a reputable company in the development of hardware, but that currently covers its business in the software services industry. As a result, there is an improved understanding of software requirements, as well as its trace within the scope of the project, i.e., one can easily traverse the model and identify all the artifacts impacted by the change.
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The chapter presents an ontological model for software requirements engineering, from the perception of the many problems that occur during the process of software development, bringing losses to developers and customer dissatisfaction. It is felt that the lack of standardization is a cultural factor that covers scenarios, composed of short deadlines and high costs, have contributed to this situation. As a result, this process, but specifically the area of Requirements Engineering Software, has undergone several changes, mostly to improve the quality of the final product.

Although there is a concern to study and apply the steps of analysis and design, these procedures are not used for their excellence, or are used differently for each project run by the organization. Aiming at a better standardization and management of information from the software requirements, this chapter covers the use of ontology in software development. Recent studies show that the ontology can be used in any area of knowledge. Guarino et al. (2005) argue that a computer scientist in order to build complex information systems and conceptual models has to examine the environments in which they will operate in the organizations and the data and knowledge that it will process. To be understandable and reusable these models must combine precision and effectiveness of formal semantics cognitive transparency, since they incorporate increasingly sophisticated and heterogeneous modeling paradigms. In this case, the ontology is presented as an emerging resource that holds enormous potential to improve understanding and absorption of information for your organization management (Ding et al., 2002a, 2002b).

In this context, several research communities started to use the ontology, such as Engineering Knowledge, Natural Language Processing, Knowledge Representation, Intelligent Information Integration, Information Retrieval on the Internet, Knowledge Management among others. It is understood that the reason for the increased interest of researchers in ontology, is largely due to the possibility of sharing some domain of knowledge that can be communicated between people and computers (Lima et al. 2010).

Currently, in projects developed by an organization, because they have different characteristics, methodologies that apply to be better used in that situation. Still it is observed that development standards are not used efficiently, especially for non-compliance of the principles of requirements engineering as a result of a culture that valued the training of professionals with high technical knowledge. It can be seen in the literature found that poor understanding of software requirements leads to many difficulties in the process of software development (Lima, et al. 2011). Investments in requirements engineering can be justified as a way to avoid future problems, or changes in the process of development. If you fix a problem at the beginning of the software building, costs will be reduced. So, to assist in understanding and traceability of requirements in this chapter, we propose an ontological model to represent the artifacts of basic software requirements engineering.

The standardization and management of information from the software requirements, through ontology are the main motivation of this article. In our view, ontology provides a better understanding of the requirements of key stakeholders (customers, users and developers) in the software development process facilitating the traceability of software requirements throughout the process.

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