NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
the use of uml for software requirements expression and managementIt is common practice to write English-language "shall" statements to embody detailed software requirements in aerospace software applications. This paper explores the use of the UML language as a replacement for the English language for this purpose. Among the advantages offered by the Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a high degree of clarity and precision in the expression of domain concepts as well as architecture and design. Can this quality of UML be exploited for the definition of software requirements? While expressing logical behavior, interface characteristics, timeliness constraints, and other constraints on software using UML is commonly done and relatively straight-forward, achieving the additional aspects of the expression and management of software requirements that stakeholders expect, especially traceability, is far less so. These other characteristics, concerned with auditing and quality control, include the ability to trace a requirement to a parent requirement (which may well be an English "shall" statement), to trace a requirement to verification activities or scenarios which verify that requirement, and to trace a requirement to elements of the software design which implement that requirement. UML Use Cases, designed for capturing requirements, have not always been satisfactory. Some applications of them simply use the Use Case model element as a repository for English requirement statements. Other applications of Use Cases, in which Use Cases are incorporated into behavioral diagrams that successfully communicate the behaviors and constraints required of the software, do indeed take advantage of UML's clarity, but not in ways that support the traceability features mentioned above. Our approach uses the Stereotype construct of UML to precisely identify elements of UML constructs, especially behaviors such as State Machines and Activities, as requirements, and also to achieve the necessary mapping capabilities. We describe this approach in the context of a space-based software application currently under development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
External Source(s)
Murray, Alex
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Clark, Ken
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 1, 2017
Publication Date
March 7, 2015
Subject Category
Computer Programming and Software
Meeting Information
2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference(Big Sky, MT)
Distribution Limits
model-based engineering
flight software