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## Incomplete and Non-Monotonic Requirements

An entire enumeration of all of the requirements is not possible for nearly all real-life situations. Godel's incompleteness theorem of arithmetic says that there is no finite list of axioms that completely describe integer arithmetic. Expressed in our terminology, there is no finite list of requirements that would completely describe arithmetic. Since integer arithmetic is an underlying foundation of most computer hardware systems and software applications, and since we can't even enumerate the requirements for integer arithmetic, the task of completely enumerating a more complex system is certainly intractable.

In traditional logic, a theory is defined by a finite set of axioms. Theorems within the theory are valid sentences. If new axioms are added to the theory, the already existing theorems remain valid and the theory is extended into a new theory with new theorems added to the established theorems.

In non-monotonic logic, adding new axioms to the theory may invalidate existing theorems that were already proven. A new theory is created which is not a simple extension of the old theory, but a collection of new theorems and some of the established theorems.

The requirement gathering process is iterative in nature and more like non-monotonic logic than monotonic logic. An initial collection of requirements, the axioms of the system, define the capabilities, the theorems of the system. New requirements may lead to a collection of capabilities different than the established capabilities. New requirements may negate old solutions.

Early in the process, some requirements are established. As the process continues, other requirements are discovered which may be in conflict with earlier known requirements, thus leading a different system. See [#!McC80!#].

Unfortunately, as a system increases in size and complexity, the requirement gathering process becomes more and more intractable. This is especially true when the requirement gathering process is distributed across many individuals from many different disciplines.

Next: The Design Phase Up: The Analysis Phase Previous: Atypical Scenarios
Ronald LeRoi Burback
1998-12-14