This Article 
   
 Share 
   
 Bibliographic References 
   
 Add to: 
 
Digg
Furl
Spurl
Blink
Simpy
Google
Del.icio.us
Y!MyWeb
 
 Search 
   
An Automated Approach to Information Systems Decomposition
March 1992 (vol. 18 no. 3)
pp. 174-189

A method for automating the process of system decomposition is described. The method is based on a formal specification scheme, formal definition of good decomposition, heuristic rules governing the search for good candidate decompositions, and a measure of complexity that allows ranking of the candidate decompositions. The decomposition method has been implemented as a set of experimental computerized systems analysis tools and applied to a standard problem for which other designs already exist. The results are encouraging, in that decompositions generated using other methodologies map easily into those suggested by the computerized tools. Additionally, the use of the method indicates that when more than one 'good' decomposition is suggested by the system, the specifications might have been incomplete. That is, the computerized tools can identify areas where more information should be sought by analysis.

[1] A. J. Albrecht, "Function points help managers assess applications,"Computerworld, pp. SR20-SR21, Aug. 26, 1985.
[2] C. Alexander,Notes on the Synthesis of Form. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1967.
[3] M. L. Brodie and E. Silva, "Active and passive component modeling: ACM/PCM," inInformation Systems Design Methodologies: A Comparative Review, T. W. Olle, H. G. Sol, and A. A. Verrijn-Stuart, Eds. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1982, pp. 93-142.
[4] M. Bunge,Treatise on Basic Philosophy: Vol. 3: Ontology I: The Furniture of the World. Boston, MA: Reidel, 1977.
[5] M. Bunge,Treatise on Basic Philosophy: Vol. 4: Ontology II: The World of Systems. Boston, MA: Reidel, 1979.
[6] E. T. Chen, "Program complexity and programmer productivity,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-4, pp. 187-194, May 1978.
[7] P. J. Courtois, "On time and space decomposition of complex structures,"Commun. ACM, vol. 28, pp. 590-603, 1985.
[8] W. B. Croft, "Representing office work with goals and constraints,"Office and Knowledge Eng., vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 13-18, Aug. 1987.
[9] J. De Kleer and J. S. Brown, "A qualitative physics based on confluences," inQualitative Reasoning about Physical Systems, D. G. Bobrow, Ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985.
[10] T. DeMarco,Structured Analysis and System Specification. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979.
[11] C. Gane and T. Sarson,Structured Systems Analysis: Tools and Techniques. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979.
[12] M. Halstead,Elements of Software Science. New York: Elsevier-North Holland, 1977.
[13] M. Hamilton and S. Zeldin, "Higher order software--a methodology for defining software,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-2, pp. 9-32, Mar. 1976.
[14] L. Hellerman, "A measure of computational work,"IEEE Trans. Computers, vol. C-21, pp. 439-446, May 1972.
[15] M. A. Jackson,System Development. London: Prentice-Hall Int., 1983.
[16] B. R. Konsynski and J. F. Nunamaker, "Plexsys: a system development system," inAdvanced System Development/Feasibility Techniques, J. D. Gouger, M. A. Colter, and R. W. Knapp, Eds. New York: Wiley, 1982, pp. 399-423.
[17] S. S. Lam and A. U. Shankar, "A relational notation for state transition systems,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. 16, pp. 755-775, July 1900.
[18] B. Langefors,Theoretical Analysis of Information Systems(Studentlitteratur Lund, vol. I). København: Akademisk Forlag, 1970.
[19] R. Mattessich,Instrumental Reasoning and Systems Methodology. Boston, MA: Reidel, 1978.
[20] T. J. McCabe, "A complexity measure,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. SE-2, pp. 308-320, Dec. 1976.
[21] T. J. McCabe and C. W. Butler, "Design complexity measurement and testing,"Commun. ACM, vol. 32, no. 12, pp. 1415-1425, Dec. 1989.
[22] A. T. McNeile, "Jackson System Development (JSD)," inInformation Systems Design Methodologies: Improving the Practice, T. W. Olle, H. G. Sol, and A. A. Verrijn-Stuart, Eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier-Science, 1986.
[23] A. Mili, J. Desharnais, and J. R. Gagné, "Formal models of stepwise refinement of programs,"ACM Comput. Surveys, vol. 18, no. 3, Sept. 1986.
[24] G. J. Myers,Reliable Software Through Composite Design. New York: Petrocelli/Charter, 1975.
[25] G. J. Myers,Composite Structured Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1978.
[26] O. M. Nierstrasz, "What is the 'object' in object-oriented programming," inObjects and Things, D. C. Tsichritzis, Ed. Geneva, Switzerland: Centre Universitaire d'Informatique, University of Geneva, 1987, pp. 1-13.
[27] T. W. Olle, "Comparative review of information systems design methodologies, " inInformation System Design Methodologies--A Comparative Review, T. W. Olle, H. G. Sol, and A. A. Verrijn-Stuart, Eds. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1982.
[28] K. T. Orr,Structured Systems Development. New York: Yourdon, 1977.
[29] Parnas, D.L. 1972. On the Criteria to be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules,Communications of the ACM, Vol.15, pp. 1053-1058.
[30] D. Paulson, "Reasoning tools to support systems analysis and design," Ph.D. dissert., Univ. British Columbia, 1989 (unpublished).
[31] G. Roman, "A taxonomy of current issues in requirements engineering,"Computer, pp. 14-22, Apr. 1985.
[32] C. E. Shannon, "A mathematical theory of communication,"Bell Syst. Techn. J., pp. 378-423, 623-659, 1948.
[33] H. A. Simon,The Sciences of the Artificial, 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981.
[34] H. A. Simon and A. Ando, "Aggregation of variables in dynamic systems,"Econometrica, vol. 29, pp. 111-138, 1961.
[35] W. P. Stevens, G. J. Myers, and L. L. Constantine, "Structured design,"IBM Syst. J., no. 2, pp. 115-139, 1974.
[36] A. Sutcliffe, "Human factors in information systems: a research agenda and some experience," inHuman Factors in Information Systems Analysis and Design, A. Finkelstein, M. J. Tauber, and R. Traunmuller, Eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier-Science, 1990, pp. 5-23.
[37] A. Topper, "Excelling with CASE,"PC Techn. J., vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 71-79, 1988.
[38] Y. Wand, "An ontological foundation for information systems design theory," inProc. IFIP WG 8.4 Working Conf. on Office Inform. Syst.: The Design Process(Linz, Austria), Aug. 1988, B. Pernici and A. A. Verrijn-Stuart, Eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier-Science, 1988.
[39] Y. Wand and R. Weber, "An ontological analysis of some fundamental information systems concepts," inProc. 9th Int. Conf. on Inform. Syst.(Minneapolis), Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 1988.
[40] Y. Wand and R. Weber, "A model of control and audit procedure change in evolving data processing systems,"Account. Rev., vol. LXIV, no. 1, pp. 87-107, Jan. 1989.
[41] Y. Wand and R. Weber, "A model of systems decomposition," inProc. 10th Int. Conf. on Inform. Syst.(Boston), Dec. 1989, 41-51.
[42] Y. Wand and R. Weber, "an ontological model of an information system,"IEEE Trans. Software Eng., vol. 16, pp. 1282-1292, Nov. 1990.
[43] Y. Wand and R. Weber, "Toward a theory of the deep structure of information systems," inProc. Int. Conf. on Inform. Syst.(Copenhagen, Denmark), Dec. 16-19, 1990.
[44] J. D. Warnier,Logical Construction of Programs. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1974.
[45] Yourdon, E., and L.L. Constantine,Structured Design: Fundamentals Discipline of Computer Programs and Systems Design, Yourdon Press, New York, 1978.

Index Terms:
automated approach; information systems decomposition; formal specification scheme; formal definition; heuristic rules; complexity; experimental computerized systems analysis tools; standard problem; computational complexity; formal specification; software tools; systems analysis
Citation:
D. Paulson, Y. Wand, "An Automated Approach to Information Systems Decomposition," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 174-189, March 1992, doi:10.1109/32.126767
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.