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Exploring Alternative Software Architecture Designs: A Planning Perspective

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2 Author(s)
Diaz-Pace, J.A. ; Software Eng. Inst., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA ; Campo, M.R.

Software architecture designs give us blueprints to build systems, enabling key early decisions that can help us achieve a system's functional and quality-attribute requirements. Architectural decisions have far-reaching effects on development in terms of quality, time, and cost. Architects apply technical knowledge and experience to guide their decision making, choosing among multiple design solutions to find a reasonable balance of quality attributes such as performance, modifiability, or security. This is complex and time consuming because qualities can conflict and lead to trade-offs. A trade-off means that the improvement of one quality comes at the cost of degrading another for example, modifiability versus performance. The DesignBots framework supports architects in searching for design alternatives by capturing quality-attribute design concepts into a hierarchical, mixed-initiative planning model. Overall, this work reinforces the argument that Al-based tools can facilitate the design of architectures driven by quality-attribute issues.

Published in:

Intelligent Systems, IEEE  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Sept.-Oct. 2008

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