Enabling automated requirements reuse and configuration

  • Yan Li
  • Tao Yue
  • Shaukat Ali
  • Li Zhang
Regular Paper


A system product line (PL) often has a large number of reusable and configurable requirements, which in practice are organized hierarchically based on the architecture of the PL. However, the current literature lacks approaches that can help practitioners to systematically and automatically develop structured and configuration-ready PL requirements repositories. In the context of product line engineering and model-based engineering, automatic requirements structuring can benefit from models. Such a structured PL requirements repository can greatly facilitate the development of product-specific requirements repository, the product configuration at the requirements level, and the smooth transition to downstream product configuration phases (e.g., at the architecture design phase). In this paper, we propose a methodology with tool support, named as Zen-ReqConfig, to tackle the above challenge. Zen-ReqConfig is built on existing model-based technologies, natural language processing, and similarity measure techniques. It automatically devises a hierarchical structure for a PL requirements repository, automatically identifies variabilities in textual requirements, and facilitates the configuration of products at the requirements level, based on two types of variability modeling techniques [i.e., cardinality-based feature modeling (CBFM) and a UML-based variability modeling methodology (named as SimPL)]. We evaluated Zen-ReqConfig with five case studies. Results show that Zen-ReqConfig can achieve a better performance based on the character-based similarity measure Jaro than the term-based similarity measure Jaccard. With Jaro, Zen-ReqConfig can allocate textual requirements with high precision and recall, both over 95% on average and identify variabilities in textual requirements with high precision (over 97% on average) and recall (over 94% on average). Zen-ReqConfig achieved very good time performance: with less than a second for generating a hierarchical structure and less than 2 s on average for allocating a requirement. When comparing SimPL and CBFM, no practically significant difference was observed, and they both performed well when integrated with Zen-ReqConfig.


Requirements Product line Configuration Reuse Feature model 



The work is funded by the Zen-Configurator project (Grant No. 240024/F20). Tao Yue and Shaukat Ali are also supported by U-Test (Grant No. 645463), MBE-CR (Grant No. 239063), and MBT4CPS (Grant No. 240013/O70) projects. Yan Li is supported by the exchange program between the Research Council of Norway and China Scholarship Council (No. 263920/H30). The work is also partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61672078) and the project of Beihang University (No. SKLSDE-2016ZX-10).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Software Development EnvironmentBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Simula Research LaboratoryOsloNorway

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