Software systems are supposed to help support human activities, but all too frequently they are a source of frustration. One source of that frustration is that the design is not fully faithful to the requirements, but once translated, the requirements also become transformed (and mis-represented) as hard-coded decisions within the program. This makes change difficult (the translation and transformation processes need to be repeated) and costly (typically requires programmer who knows how the rest of the system works).

One way to mitigate this problem is to use a formal representation of the requirements that is comprehensible both to human and to program in the form of data to be interpreted. Consequently, requirements change can be reflected in the modification of this formal representation leading to modified behaviour of the system.

Authoring such formal specification however, takes us back to the need for skilled and expensive personnel. Hence we get to the aim of this project which is to evaluate available tools to extract policy specifications from textual specifications, such as statutes, regulations, laws or procedures, to generate formal representations in the action language InstAL and to develop an appropriate policy unit test framework to provide assurance that policies achieve intended goals.

Some potential resources are: