SSP Group Meeting
May 13th, Wednesday, 11am-12pm
Department of Artificial Intelligence, 80 South Bridge, Room F13


Critiquing of Specifications based on Ontologies

Yannis Kalfoglou

One of key issues in software specifications was always the alleviation of these from the harmful occurrences of conceptual errors. The nature of the problem, which relies on the provision of specific knowledge about the domain, makes it difficult to tackle with the existing tools; such as debuggers, tracers and even tools that are based on formal methods.

The field of Ontologies, and specifically, the formal ones, exhibits some compelling characteristics that can be used for tackle this problem. Formal ontologies provide a predefined syntax, semantics and often a set of axioms that restricts the possible interpretations of the ontology's constructs.

We are applying a well-known method in logic programming; meta-interpretation; along with the underpin ontology's axioms in order to detect conceptual errors that occur in specifications which are based on that ontology's syntax. Our mechanism has been used with success in finding discrepancies on a set of specifications that are based on the Process Interchange Format (PIF) ontology. Recently, we have extent our mechanism by adopting a new architecture; so called multi-layered architecture. We are currently testing the usage of this architecture in a variety of ways; detecting conceptual errors in specifications; assisting ontological engineers in validating and verifying their ontologies, etc. The domain we are experiment with, is the Requirements Engineering; a domain fraught with uncertainty; and specifically the proposed exemplar for this domain: The Meeting Scheduler problem. Some early results, and examples of possible uses of this architecture will be shown. Finally, we are developing a constraints editor, for assisting the specifier to construct its specifications based on the underpin ontology and handling some sort of inconsistency among the edited axioms.