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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRecent studies point to major problems in today's software systems. Problems in cost, reliability, maintainability, and poor responsiveness to user requirements have their origin in the early phases of the system development effort. Although increasing awareness of poor design practice has stimulated several research efforts toward making the "detailed design" process more "systematic," there is a significant need for a computer-aided methodology to help designers cope with the complex design process. A framework is established for organizing activities in support of one important aspect of "detailed design," the organization of processes into appropriate process groups and program modules. A computer-aided methodology is presented for analysis of variety of inter-process relationships in the determination of effective modularizations. The proposed methodology extends current software engineering practice through partial automation of an important software engineering problem, the effective structuring of processes according to multiple design criteria. Multiple design criteria are used to determine inter-process relationships. The system accomodates a number of design criteria including volume of data transport, distribution of data references, information and control distribution. The methodology begins with the assignment of a graph structure to subsystem components and their interdependencies. The resulting graph is partitioned in determination of subgraphs (modules) with strong intra-dependencies and weak inter-dependencies. The set of subgraphs define modules which satisfy principles of high module strength and low module coupling. The decomposition method used also produces a hierarchical structure of modules with little resource sharing. The resulting design limits "reference distribution" and "information distribution" between modules, which results in reduction of complexity of the total structure. Analytical tools in support of these activities are presented to illustrate support of the methodology by a pilot study.
Degree ProgramBusiness Administration