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Formal perspectives on software evolution: from refinement to retrenchment

Poppleton, Michael and Groves, Lindsay (2006) Formal perspectives on software evolution: from refinement to retrenchment In, Madhavji, Nadim, Fernandez-Ramil, Juan and Perry, Dewayne (eds.) Software Evolution and Feedback: Theory and Practice. John Wiley pp. 313-338.

Record type: Book Section


The discipline of formal methods is concerned with the use of mathematical techniques to capture precise system specifications, and to transform these into verifiably correct programs. As these techniques mature, formal methods researchers are now taking a broader view of software development, and considering how evolution of such specifications and programs may be formally supported. This chapter discusses various ways in which formal methods can contribute to the evolutionary development of verifiably correct software. This discussion centres around model-based specification notations and associated development techniques, as exemplified by VDM, Z, B and the refinement calculus. The chapter begins by introducing the refinement calculus and outlining two ways in which program refinement can support evolutionary development. The chapter then introduces a recent generalisation of refinement, called retrenchment. Some of the factors motivating this generalisation are shown to be relevant to the evolution problem, and a sketch of a potential retrenchment-based method for modelling evolution is drawn. Discussion is supported by considering elements of realistic examples.

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Published date: 2006
Additional Information: Chapter: 15
Keywords: evolution, formal, refinement, retrenchment
Organisations: Electronic & Software Systems


Local EPrints ID: 262347
ISBN: 0470871806
PURE UUID: 68250ee0-aef9-4561-8131-f072da3c31c6

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Date deposited: 11 Apr 2006
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 08:52

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Author: Michael Poppleton
Author: Lindsay Groves
Editor: Nadim Madhavji
Editor: Juan Fernandez-Ramil
Editor: Dewayne Perry

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