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Arora C.,nter for Security | Sabetzadeh M.,nter for Security | Briand L.,nter for Security | Zimmer F.,SES TechCom
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering | Year: 2015

Templates are effective tools for increasing the precision of natural language requirements and for avoiding ambiguities that may arise from the use of unrestricted natural language. When templates are applied, it is important to verify that the requirements are indeed written according to the templates. If done manually, checking conformance to templates is laborious, presenting a particular challenge when the task has to be repeated multiple times in response to changes in the requirements. In this article, using techniques from natural language processing (NLP), we develop an automated approach for checking conformance to templates. Specifically, we present a generalizable method for casting templates into NLP pattern matchers and reflect on our practical experience implementing automated checkers for two well-known templates in the requirements engineering community. We report on the application of our approach to four case studies. Our results indicate that: (1) our approach provides a robust and accurate basis for checking conformance to templates; and (2) the effectiveness of our approach is not compromised even when the requirements glossary terms are unknown. This makes our work particularly relevant to practice, as many industrial requirements documents have incomplete glossaries. © 1976-2012 IEEE.

Nair S.,Certus Center for Software VandV | De La Vara J.L.,Certus Center for Software VandV | Sabetzadeh M.,nter for Security | Briand L.,nter for Security
Information and Software Technology | Year: 2014

Context Critical systems in domains such as aviation, railway, and automotive are often subject to a formal process of safety certification. The goal of this process is to ensure that these systems will operate safely without posing undue risks to the user, the public, or the environment. Safety is typically ensured via complying with safety standards. Demonstrating compliance to these standards involves providing evidence to show that the safety criteria of the standards are met. Objective In order to cope with the complexity of large critical systems and subsequently the plethora of evidence information required for achieving compliance, safety professionals need in-depth knowledge to assist them in classifying different types of evidence, and in structuring and assessing the evidence. This paper is a step towards developing such a body of knowledge that is derived from a large-scale empirically rigorous literature review. Method We use a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) as the basis for our work. The SLR builds on 218 peer-reviewed studies, selected through a multi-stage process, from 4963 studies published between 1990 and 2012. Results We develop a taxonomy that classifies the information and artefacts considered as evidence for safety. We review the existing techniques for safety evidence structuring and assessment, and further study the relevant challenges that have been the target of investigation in the academic literature. We analyse commonalities in the results among different application domains and discuss implications of the results for both research and practice. Conclusion The paper is, to our knowledge, the largest existing study on the topic of safety evidence. The results are particularly relevant to practitioners seeking a better grasp on evidence requirements as well as to researchers in the area of system safety. As a major finding of the review, the results strongly suggest the need for more practitioner-oriented and industry-driven empirical studies in the area of safety certification. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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