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To be presented at EMISA Workshop 'Nat?rlichsprachlicher Entwurf von Informationssystemen - Grundlagen, Methoden, Werkzeuge, Anwendungen', May 28-30, 1996, Ev. Akademie Tutzing


From Specifications in Controlled Natural Language

towards Executable Specifications

Rolf Schwitter, Norbert E. Fuchs
Department of Computer Science, University of Zurich
{schwitter, fuchs}

Deriving formal specifications from informal requirements is difficult since one has to take into account the disparate conceptual worlds of the application domain and of software development. To bridge the conceptual gap we propose controlled natural language as a textual view on formal specifications in logic. The specification language Attempto Controlled English (ACE) is a subset of natural language that can be accurately and efficiently processed by a computer, but is expressive enough to allow natural usage. The Attempto system translates specifications in ACE into discourse representation structures and into Prolog. The resulting knowledge base can be queried in ACE for verification, and it can be executed for simulation, prototyping and validation of the specification.