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A semantically-enriched goal-oriented requirements engineering framework for systems of systems using the i* framework applied to cancer care

AlHaj Hassan, Suhair



In recent years, monolithic systems are being composed into bigger systems as Systems of Systems (SoSs). This evolution of SoS raises several software engineering key challenges, such as the management of emerging inconsistent goals and requirements, which may occur among the various Constituent Systems (CSs) themselves, as well as between the entire SoS and the participating CSs. Another significant challenge is that Systems of Systems Engineering (SoSE) involves more stakeholders than traditional systems engineering, i.e. stakeholders at the SoS-level and the CS-level, where each CS has its own needs and objectives which establish a complex stakeholder environment. To respond to these challenges, this research is aimed at investigating the implications of applying a goal-oriented requirements engineering approach in identifying, modelling and managing emerging goals and their conflicts in SoS context. The key artefact of this research is the development of a Semantically-Enriched Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering Framework for Systems of Systems using the i* framework, namely the OntoSoS.GORE framework.
The OntoSoS.GORE is a three-layered framework designed, developed, demonstrated and then evaluated through following multiple iterations of the Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) phases, to accomplish the following main objectives: (1) identifying and modelling the SoS global goals and the CSs local goals at different levels of an SoS using the i* framework, in which a new process to extract i* modelling elements from existing user documentation is proposed; (2) maintaining the consistency and integrity of SoS goals at multiple levels through developing a semantic Goals Referential Integrity (sGRI) model in SoS context which consists of an SoSGRI model and an ontology-based model; and (3) managing any conflicts that may occur amongst goals at both the SoS-level and the CS-level, by developing and applying a new goal conflict management approach in SoS context, which consists of two main processes: goal conflict detection and goal conflict resolution.
The research framework has been instantiated and validated by applying a real Cancer Care case study at King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC), Amman, Jordan. Results revealed the effectiveness of applying the framework compared to the current approach applied at KHCC, in terms of addressing higher consistency, completeness and correctness with regard to goal management and conflict management in SoS context. Moreover, the framework provides automation of the processes of following the satisfaction of goals and goals’ conflict management at multiple SoS levels, instead of the manual approach applied currently at KHCC. This automation is accomplished through developing a strategic goal-oriented management tool that is anticipated to be delivered and utilised at KHCC, as well as applying it to other SoS organisations as a proposed solution for goal and conflict management. Another contribution to the Cancer Care and SoS domains is developing a reference i* goal-oriented model for access to Cancer Care which provides a wider system engineering perspective and offers an accessible level of abstraction about Cancer Care goals and their dependencies for stakeholders and domain experts. The reference model provides standardisation of common generic concepts about the domain, in which other Cancer Care organisations can considerably reuse to facilitate the process of capturing and specifying goals and requirements for their practice and validating choices among alternative designs.


AlHaj Hassan, S. (2020). A semantically-enriched goal-oriented requirements engineering framework for systems of systems using the i* framework applied to cancer care. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date Jan 22, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2020
Keywords Systems of Systems, Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering, i* Framework, Goals Referential Integrity, Conflict Management, Cancer Care Informatics
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