DISI Dipartimento di Informatica e Scienze dell'Informazione

Institutions for Very Abstract Specifications

M. Cerioli and G. Reggio .

In Recent Trends in Data Type Specification, number 785 in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 113--127, Berlin, 1993. Springer Verlag.

This paper is a first attempt at the definition of a set of operations on specification frameworks, supporting the modular construction of formal software specification methodologies.
Since obviously a formalism providing tools to deal with all possible software specification features, if any, would be a monster and would become out of date in a short time, in our opinion the first step, in order to produce formal specifications, is to get a framework including all the features needed by the particular problem under examination, but as simple as possible.
Following an obvious reuse principle, the best way to get such a framework is to assemble pieces of formalisms, studied once and forever, or to tune an available formalism, adding only the local features.
In this paper, following the well-established approach by Goguen and Burstall, specification frameworks are formalized as institutions; thus enrichments and assembling of formalisms become, in this setting, operations among institutions.

The compressed postscript version of this paper is available through anonymous ftp at ftp.disi.unige.it, in /person/CerioliM/WADT93.ps.gz (57906 Kb)