Simons, C. and Parmee, I.
An empirical investigation of search-based computational support for conceptual software engineering design.
IEEE International Conference on Systems,Man and Cybernetics, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 12-14 July 2009., pp. 2577-2582
- Accepted Version
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICSMC.2009.5346344
Conceptual software engineering design is an intensely people-oriented and non-trivial activity, yet current
computational tool support is limited. While a number of search-based software engineering approaches to support software design have been reported, few empirical studies into their application have been described. This paper reports the findings of an observational study of conceptual design episodes in a UK higher education problem domain. When compared with a manual design episode, a design episode enabled by a user interactive, search-based, evolutionary computation tool generates a large number of useful and interesting candidate designs, and provides enhanced qualitative and quantitative evaluation. It is also found that tool-supported visualization of UML class designs offers opportunities for sudden design discovery, and that designers respond positively to opportunities
to explore and exploit multiple candidate designs. It appears therefore that search-based computational tool support offers high potential in the support of conceptual software engineering design.
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