Accession Number:

ADA089711

Title:

Prerequisites to Deriving Formal Specifications from Natural Language Requirements.

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.,

Corporate Author:

DELAWARE UNIV NEWARK DEPT OF COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1980-08-01

Pagination or Media Count:

45.0

Abstract:

This report investigates in a preliminary study whether it is feasible in the foreseeable future to have software tools which under user guidance would aid in developing precise, rigorous specifications from English ones and in detecting ambiguity and vagueness in English specifications. This report identifies four substantial sources of modules which have been specified both in English and a formal language. Portions of one, the specification of KSOS, have been studied under this contract to determine which problems are most formidable for a natural language understanding system. The most difficult problems identified by this report are ambiguity in modifier placement, nominal compounds, quantification, definite reference, and the inference of unstated relationships. Problems that prove not to be as significant are lexical gaps, lexical ambiguity, conjunction, and parenthetical expressions. The work has also identified patterns of English expression in software specification and four areas for further study. Several practical suggestions for better documentation and for more understandable formal specifications are covered at length in a separate report. A sampling of that document is presented here.

Subject Categories:

  • Linguistics
  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE