Debunking the Myth That Upfront Requirements Are Infeasible for Scientific Computing Software Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Many in the Scientific Computing Software community believe that upfront requirements are impossible, or at least infeasible. This paper shows requirements are feasible with the following: i) an appropriate perspective ("faking" the final documentation as if requirements were correct and complete from the start, and gathering requirements as if for a family of programs); ii) the aid of the right principles (abstraction, separation of concerns, anticipation of change, and generality); iii) employing SCS specific templates (for Software Requirements and Module Interface Specification); iv) using a design process that enables change (information hiding); and, v) the aid of modern tools (version control, issue tracking, checking, generation and automation tools). Not only are upfront requirements feasible, they provide significant benefits, including facilitating communication, early identification of errors, better design decisions and enabling replicability. The topics listed above are explained, justified and illustrated via an example of software developed by a small team of software and mechanical engineers for modelling the solidification of a metal alloy.

publication date

  • May 2019