Requirements Refinement and Component Reuse: The FoReVer Contract-Based Approach

Requirements Refinement and Component Reuse: The FoReVer Contract-Based Approach

Laura Baracchi (Intecs, Italy), Alessandro Cimatti (FBK-Irst, Italy), Gerald Garcia (Thales Alenia Space, France), Silvia Mazzini (Intecs, Italy), Stefano Puri (Intecs, Italy) and Stefano Tonetta (FBK-Irst, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3923-0.ch057


The development of complex computer-based systems poses two fundamental challenges. On one side, the architectural decomposition must be complemented by a suitable refinement of the requirements. On the other side, it is fundamental to provide the means for component reuse in order to limit development costs. In this chapter, the authors discuss the approach taken in FoReVeR, a project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), where these two issues are tackled in the setting of space systems. The approach taken in FoReVeR is based on the idea of contracts, which allow one to formally specify the requirements of components at different levels of abstraction and to formally prove the correctness of requirements decomposition. In particular, the authors show how system-level requirements can be progressively refined into software requirements and how the contract-based framework supports the reuse of the components of a reference architecture under development by ESA. The authors discuss how the proposed solution has been integrated in a space development process and present the results of case studies.
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The top-down design of complex critical system poses two fundamental challenges. The first one is the refinement of requirements, along with the progressive decomposition of the system architecture. In general, the quality and the traceability of requirements are fundamental for the whole design. Flaws in the requirements are in fact recognized as a major source of problems in the development, and may require major revisions in the advanced phases of the development cycle (Lutz, 1993). The second challenge is to enable for a correct reuse of (previously certified) components, which can lead to huge savings in development and certification costs. Unfortunately, the composition of correct components does not necessarily result in a correct system.

In this chapter we report how these issues have been addressed, in the context of space systems, within the FoReVeR project (see, an extended version of the NuSMV symbolic model checker.

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