RELAX: a language to address uncertainty in self-adaptive systems requirement

Abstract

Self-adaptive systems have the capability to autonomously modify their behavior at run-time in response to changes in their environment. Self-adaptation is particularly necessary for applications that must run continuously, even under adverse conditions and changing requirements; sample domains include automotive systems, telecommunications, and environmental monitoring systems. While a few techniques have been developed to support the monitoring and analysis of requirements for adaptive systems, limited attention has been paid to the actual creation and specification of requirements of self-adaptive systems. As a result, self-adaptivity is often constructed in an ad-hoc manner. In order to support the rigorous specification of adaptive systems requirements, this paper introduces RELAX, a new requirements language for self-adaptive systems that explicitly addresses uncertainty inherent in adaptive systems. We present the formal semantics for RELAX in terms of fuzzy logic, thus enabling a rigorous treatment of requirements that include uncertainty. RELAX enables developers to identify uncertainty in the requirements, thereby facilitating the design of systems that are, by definition, more flexible and amenable to adaptation in a systematic fashion. We illustrate the use of RELAX on smart home applications, including an adaptive assisted living system.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    SHALL statements are commonly used to specify requirements, indicating a contractual relationship between the customer and the developer as to what functionality should be included in the system.

  2. 2.

    Note that we take the liberty to use the RELAX name as a verb to indicate the insertion of RELAX operators.

  3. 3.

    a term coined by Anthony Finkelstein at a Dagstuhl workshop on software engineering for self-adaptive systems, January 2008

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Correspondence to Jon Whittle.

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Whittle, J., Sawyer, P., Bencomo, N. et al. RELAX: a language to address uncertainty in self-adaptive systems requirement. Requirements Eng 15, 177–196 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00766-010-0101-0

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Keywords

  • Adaptive systems
  • Requirements engineering
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Smart homes
  • Uncertainty