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Requirements Elicitation and Analysis of Multiagent Systems Using Activity Theory

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3 Author(s)
Fuentes-Fernandez, R. ; Dept. Ingenie-a del Software e Intel. Artificial, Univ. Complutense de Madrid, Madrid ; Gomez-Sanz, J.J. ; Pavon, J.

Requirements elicitation and analysis is intended to gain knowledge about customers' needs and the environment of a software system. Requirements not only commonly deal with business processes and their data but also with the motivation behind these activities, the social structures that forge them, and previous design decisions. Recent studies show that the intentional and social concepts of agent-oriented software engineering (AOSE) could be used for the analysis of these aspects. Nevertheless, even having specialized modeling primitives for these requirements is not sufficient for their elicitation. Specialized analysis techniques are also required, but this is commonly overlooked by agent-oriented methodologies. This paper aims to provide the needed modeling primitives and support by means of the theoretical and methodological foundation of a social sciences framework, the activity theory, and its activity checklist. They inspire our requirements elicitation guide (REG) for AOSE. The REG contains the expert knowledge that developers need to grasp information about their multiagent systems, human environments, and their mutual influences. This knowledge takes the form of requirements described as diagrams in a proper modeling language. The REG is applied in a process with the corresponding support tool. In this way, the REG guides requirements elicitation and increases the productivity with the use of templates for a wide range of requirements. These elements have been validated with several case studies. Two of them appear as part of this paper.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Part A: Systems and Humans, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

March 2009

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