Dr. James D. Arthur

Emeritus Professor
Computer Science

(540) 231-7538



Current Research Interests:

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Within the software engineering domain current research efforts proceed on three complementary fronts - software quality assessment and prediction, independent verification and validation, and requirements engineering.

In the software quality assessment area the focus is on systematic quality assessment and prediction guided by the Objectives/Principles/Attributes (OPA) Framework for software development. Software Quality Indicators, undeniably linked to software quality attributes, form a basis for measurement. Substantiated links between desirable software engineering objectives and the principles employed to achieve those objectives, and product attributes resulting from a process guided by such principles, enable the propagation of indicator values leading to quality assessment at multiple levels. The OPA Framework supports a rational approach for reasoning about how and why particular measures are observed. Moreover, because it focuses on product, process and documentation artifacts, the underlying assessment framework can be applied to both conventional software development processes (e.g., Waterfall-based models), as well as some of the more non-conventional approaches (e.g., Agile Software Development).

Verification and validation (V&V) techniques can provide significant benefits and insights when used in tandem with software development activities. Unfortunately, powerful V&V techniques are often ignored because of the time and costs associated with their use. Our research questions "why" the prohibitive cost and time, and "how" to reduce the cost and time without significantly sacrificing benefits. Of particular interests is developing V&V techniques that support the evolution of requirements that reflect what the user intends to convey as opposed to what is often (mis)understood by the person developing the requirements.

The work in IV&V has brought to light the real importance of acquiring the correct set of requirements from the customer, that is, requirements that reflect the intent of the customer. Initial work has revealed two major factors contributing to our inability to elicit requirements meeting the customer's intent: the lack of structure and lack of guidance in the requirements generation process. To that end, we have defined a Requirements Generation Model (RGM) that consistes of a multiphase framework, a comprehensive set of guidelines and protocols that structure interaction, and a monitoring methodology that continuously "samples" the interaction for deviations from the expected norm and suggests corrective actions when such deviations are detected. We are currently in the process of validation the RGM and are moving toward developing an environment supporting the RGM.


Personal Interests