[TYPES/announce] postdoc position in Toulouse on formal modelling of the problem domain

Julien Brunel Julien.Brunel at onera.fr
Wed Jul 17 11:38:47 EDT 2013

A post-doctoral position is available at Toulouse, France, jointly proposed by 
Onera/DTIM and IRIT. The objective is to enrich existing formally-grounded 
requirement modelling approaches in order to allow to reason about the problem 

Requirements engineering (RE) is critical in software and system design. 
Indeed, a major part of the cost of software and system development is known 
to be traceable to the understanding of the problem domain and requirements. 
In the last decade, much research on this topic has reached maturity and has 
been integrated into modeling methods.

Over the last few years, Onera has been developing a "core" language for 
requirements modelling, called  Khi, which allows to describe the behavioural 
goals of the system on the one hand, and the different agents of the system, 
with their behaviour, on the other hand. The main problem addressed by Khi is 
to assess possible assignations of agents to goals, i.e., to answer the 
following question: "is a given set of  agents able to ensure a given goal?"
In order to allow formal verification, Khi comes with a formal semantics 
relying on a temporal multi-agent  logic called Updatabe Strategy Logic (USL). 
USL generalizes temporal logics with the ability to reason about the 
strategies applied by agents in order to fulfill their objectives.
Although very promising, Khi lacks a tractable way to model and reason about 
the problem domain, i..e., the conceptual entities that form the system and 
its environment, as well as their types, relationships, etc. Although some 
approaches allow to model a structural view of the domain, a unified formal 
framework considering the problem domain, goals and agents altogether is still 
The aim of this postdoctoral position is to devise:
*  an extension of Khi allowing to reason about both the expected behaviour of 
the system and the main concepts that form the domain. The underlying formal 
semantics will build on USL on the one  hand, and on a formal framework well-
suited for domain modelling (e.g., first-order logic, relation algebra, 
description logics or algebraic specification) on the other hand. The choice 
for the latter will result from a trade-off between expressivity, user-
friendliness and the potential for automated  verification. Following an 
ongoing work concerning USL,  meta-theoretical properties of the proposed 
logic will be possibly  validated using a proof assistant such as Coq or 

* a method, possibly supported by a software prototype, allowing to design and 
validate models of the above-mentioned Khi extension.

*KEYWORDS*: temporal logic, multi-agent logic, formal domain modelling, 
requirement engineering

This is a joint proposition between two Toulouse computer science labs:  
Onera/DTIM and IRIT. Candidates are expected to be fluent in English or in 
French and should send a resume via email to Julien Brunel 
<julien.brunel at onera.fr> and Jean-Paul Bodeveix <bodeveix at irit.fr>.
More information on this offer:

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