TitleAutomatic Generation of State Invariants from Requirements Specifications
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsJeffords, R., and C. L. Heitmeyer
Conference Name6th International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE-6)
Conference LocationOrlando, Florida

Automatic generation of state invariants, properties that hold in every reachable state of a state machine model, can be valuable in software development. Not only can such invariants be presented to system users for validation, in addition, they can be used as auxiliary assertions in proving other invariants. This paper describes an algorithm for the automatic generation of state invariants that, in contrast to most other such algorithms, which operate on programs, derives invariants from requirements specifications. Generating invariants from requirements specifications rather than programs has two advantages: 1) because requirements specifications, unlike programs, are at a high level of abstraction, generation of and analysis using such invariants is easier, and 2) using invariants to detect errors during the requirements phase is considerably more cost-effective than using invariants later in software development. To illustrate the algorithm, we use it to generate state invariants from requirements specifications of an automobile cruise control system and a simple control system for a nuclear plant. The invariants are derived from specifications expressed in the SCR (Software Cost Reduction) tabular notation.

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