From stakeholder requirements to formal specifications through refinement

Feng Lin Li, Jennifer Horkoff, Alexander Borgida, Giancarlo Guizzardi, Lin Liu, John Mylopoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

24 Scopus citations


[Context and motivation] Stakeholder requirements are notoriously informal, vague, ambiguous and often unattainable. The requirements engineering problem is to formalize these requirements and then transform them through a systematic process into a formal specification that can be handed over to designers for downstream development. [Question/problem] This paper proposes a framework for transforming informal requirements to formal ones, and then to a specification. [Principal ideas/results] The framework consists of an ontology of requirements, a formal requirements modeling language for representing both functional and non-functional requirements, as well as a rich set of refinement operators whereby requirements are incrementally transformed into a formal, practically satisfiable and measurable specification. [Contributions] Our proposal includes a systematic, tool-supported methodology for conducting this transformation. For evaluation, we have applied our framework to a public requirements dataset. The results of our evaluation suggest that our ontology and modeling language are adequate for capturing requirements, and our methodology is effective in handling requirements in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRequirements Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationFoundation for Software Quality - 21st International Working Conference, REFSQ 2015, Proceedings
EditorsSamuel A. Fricker, Kurt Schneider
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319161006
StatePublished - 2015
Event21st International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality, REFSQ 2015 - Essen, Germany
Duration: Mar 23 2015Mar 26 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other21st International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality, REFSQ 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


  • Functional requirements
  • Nonfunctional requirements
  • Ontologies
  • Requirements modeling language


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