Alessio Ferrari

Alessio Ferrari
Italian National Research Council | CNR · Institute of Information Science and Technology "Alessandro Faedo" ISTI

Researcher

About

115
Publications
53,783
Reads
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1,657
Citations
Citations since 2016
89 Research Items
1522 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
Introduction
Alessio Ferrari currently works at the Institute of Information Science and Technology "Alessandro Faedo" ISTI, Italian National Research Council. Alessio does research in Communication in Requirements Engineering, and Formal/Semi-Formal Methods applied to Railway Systems. His current projects are 'Understanding and Leveraging Ambiguity in Requirements Engineering', and ASTRail (http://www.astrail.eu).
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - present
Italian National Research Council
Position
  • Researcher
September 2007 - September 2010
General Electric Transportation Systems, Florence, Italy
Position
  • Systems Engineer
January 2007 - January 2010
University of Florence
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (115)
Chapter
In 2020, the EU launched its sustainable and smart mobility strategy, outlining how it plans to have a 90% reduction in transport emission by 2050. Central to achieving this goal will be the improvement of rail technology, with many new data-driven visionary systems being proposed. AI will be the enabling technology for many of those systems. Howev...
Article
Full-text available
Empirical studies on formal methods and tools are rare. In this paper, we provide guidelines for such studies. We mention their main ingredients and then define nine different study strategies (usability testing, laboratory experiments with software and human subjects, case studies, qualitative studies, surveys, judgement studies, systematic litera...
Article
Full-text available
Requirements are elicited from the customer and other stakeholders through an iterative process of interviews, prototyping, and other interactive sessions. Then, requirements can be further extended, based on the analysis of the features of competing products available on the market. Understanding how this process takes place can help to identify t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Empirical studies on formal methods and tools are rare. In this paper, we provide guidelines for such studies. We mention their main ingredients and then define nine different study strategies (laboratory experiments with software and human subjects, usability testing, surveys, qualitative studies, judgment studies, case studies, systematic literat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Requirements are elicited from the customer and other stakeholders through an iterative process of interviews, prototyping, and other interactive sessions. Then, requirements can be further extended, based on the analysis of the features of competing products available on the market. Understanding how this process takes place can help to identify t...
Article
Full-text available
Shift2Rail is a joint undertaking funded by the EU via its Horizon 2020 program and by main railway stakeholders. Several Shift2Rail projects aim to investigate the application of formal methods to new ERTMS/ETCS railway signalling systems that promise to move European railway forward by guaranteeing high capacity, low cost and improved reliability...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research in applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques to requirements engineering (RE) tasks spans more than 40 years, from initial efforts carried out in the 1980s to more recent attempts with machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) techniques. However, in spite of the progress, our recent survey shows that there is still a lack o...
Article
Full-text available
Formal methods are mathematically based techniques for the rigorous development of software-intensive systems. The railway signaling domain is a field in which formal methods have traditionally been applied, with several success stories. This article reports on a mapping study that surveys the landscape of research on applications of formal methods...
Article
Full-text available
Recommender systems for requirements are typically built on the assumption that similar requirements can be used as proxies to retrieve similar software. When a stakeholder proposes a new requirement, natural language processing (NLP)-based similarity metrics can be exploited to retrieve existing requirements, and in turn, identify previously devel...
Article
Full-text available
Context The domain of rural areas, including rural communities, agriculture, and forestry, is going through a process of deep digital transformation. Digitalisation can have positive impacts on sustainability in terms of greater environmental control, and community prosperity. At the same time, it can also have disruptive effects, with the marginal...
Chapter
Full-text available
[Context and motivation] Requirements formalisation facilitates rea-soning about inconsistencies, detection of ambiguities, and identification critical issues in system models. Temporal logic formulae are the natural choice when itcomes to formalise requirements associated to desired system behaviours. [Question/problem] Understanding and mastering...
Chapter
Full-text available
Context and motivation: Advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) technologies have transformed the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP), making NLP more practical and accessible. Motivated by these exciting developments, Requirements Engineering (RE) researchers have been experimenting ML/DL based approaches for a range of RE...
Preprint
Full-text available
[Context] The domain of rural areas, including rural communities, agriculture, and forestry, is going through a process of deep digital transformation. Digitalisation can have positive impacts on sustainability in terms of greater environmental control, and community prosperity. At the same time, it can also have disruptive effects, with the margin...
Article
Full-text available
The Requirements Engineering (RE) process starts with initial requirements elicited from stakeholders—however conflicting, unattainable, incomplete and ambiguous—and successively refines them until a consistent, complete, valid, and unambiguous specification is reached. This is achieved by balancing stakeholders’ viewpoints and preferences to reach...
Article
Full-text available
Formal methods and supporting tools have a long record of success in the development of safety-critical systems. However, no single tool has emerged as the dominant solution for system design. Each tool differs from the others in terms of the modeling language used, its verification capabilities and other complementary features, and each developmen...
Preprint
Full-text available
Formal methods are mathematically-based techniques for the rigorous development of software-intensive systems. The railway signaling domain is a field in which formal methods have traditionally been applied, with several success stories. This article reports on a mapping study that surveys the landscape of research on applications of formal methods...
Preprint
Full-text available
Formal methods and supporting tools have a long record of successes in the development of safety-critical systems. However, no single tool has emerged as the dominant solution for system design. Each tool differs from the others in terms of the modeling language used, its verification capabilities and other complementary features, and each developm...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Requirements engineering (RE) is one of the most natural language-intensive fields within the software engineering area. Therefore, several works have been developed across the years to automate the analysis of natural language artifacts that are relevant for RE, including requirements documents, but also app reviews, privacy policies, and social m...
Preprint
Capturing users engagement is crucial for gathering feedback about the features of a software product. In a market-driven context, current approaches to collect and analyze users feedback are based on techniques leveraging information extracted from product reviews and social media. These approaches are hardly applicable in bespoke software develop...
Chapter
Full-text available
[Context and Motivation] Content-based recommender systems for requirements are typically built on the assumption that similar requirements can be used as proxies to retrieve similar software. When a new requirement is proposed by a stakeholder, natural language processing (NLP)-based similarity metrics can be exploited to retrieve existing require...
Preprint
Full-text available
Formal methods and supporting tools have a long record of successes in the development of safety-critical systems. However, it cannot be said that a single tool has emerged as the dominant solution for system design. Each tool differs from the others in terms of modelling language used, verification capabilities and other complementary features, an...
Article
Full-text available
Reference to the paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.01099 Context: NLP4RE-Natural language processing (NLP) supported requirements engineering (RE)-is an area of research and development that seeks to apply NLP techniques, tools and resources to a variety of requirements documents or artifacts to support a range of linguistic analysis tasks perform...
Article
Full-text available
Among the variety of the available requirements elicitation techniques, interviews are the most commonly used. Performing effective interviews is challenging, especially for students and novice analysts, since interviews’ success depends largely on soft skills and experience. Despite their diffusion and their challenging nature, when it comes to re...
Preprint
Full-text available
Requirements engineering (RE) is one of the most natural language-intensive fields within the software engineering area. Therefore, several works have been developed across the years to automate the analysis of natural language artifacts that are relevant for RE, including requirements documents, but also app reviews, privacy policies, and social m...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Shift2Rail Innovation Programme is focussing on in- novative technologies to enhance the overall railway market segments. Formal methods and standard interfaces have been identified as two key concepts to reduce time-to-market and costs, whilst ensuring safety, in- teroperability and standardization. However, the decision to start us- ing forma...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Requirements Engineering (RE) process starts with initial requirements elicited from stakeholders – however conflicting, unattainable, incomplete and ambiguous – and iteratively refines them into a specification that is consistent, complete, valid and unambiguous. We propose a novel RE process in the form of a calculus where the process is envi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The core aim of requirements inspection is to ensure the high quality of already elicited requirements in the Software Requirements Specification. Teaching requirements inspection to novices is challenging, as inspecting requirements needs several skills as well as knowledge of the product and process that is hard to achieve in a classroom environm...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Formal methods and tools have a long history of successful applications in the design of safety-critical railway products. However, most of the experiences focused on the application of a single method at once, and little work has been performed to compare the applicability of the different available frameworks to the railway context. As a result,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The ongoing phenomenon of digitisation is changing social and work life, with tangible effects on the socioeconomic context. Understanding the impact, opportunities, and threats of digital transformation requires the identification of viewpoints from a large diversity of stake-holders, from policy makers to domain experts, and from engineers to com...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Capturing users engagement is crucial for gathering feedback about the features of a software product. In a market-driven context, current approaches to collect and analyze users feedback are based on techniques leveraging information extracted from large amount of natural language product reviews and social media. These approaches are hardly appli...
Preprint
Full-text available
Natural language processing supported requirements engineering is an area of research and development that seeks to apply NLP techniques, tools and resources to a variety of requirements documents or artifacts to support a range of linguistic analysis tasks performed at various RE phases. Such tasks include detecting language issues, identifying ke...
Chapter
The book was inadvertently published with only two volume editors “Nazim Madhavji and Liliana Pasquale” whereas there should have been four “Nazim Madhavji, Liliana Pasquale, Alessio Ferrari and Stefania Gnesi”. The missing two volume editors were added in the book and the source line was updated accordingly.
Chapter
Full-text available
A long stream of research in RE has been devoted to analyzing the occurrences and consequences of ambiguity in requirements documents. Ambiguity often occurs in documents, most often in natural language (NL) ones, but occasionally also in formal specifications, be it because of abstraction, or of imprecise designation of which real-world entities a...
Chapter
Full-text available
[Context and Motivation] In real-world organisations, business processes (BPs) are often described by means of natural language (NL) documents. Indeed, although semi-formal graphical notations exist to model BPs, most of the legacy process knowledge—when not tacit—is still conveyed through textual procedures or operational manuals, in which the BPs...
Chapter
Full-text available
The railway sector has seen a large number of successful applications of formal methods and tools. However, up-to-date, structured information about the industrial usage and needs related to formal tools in railways is limited. Two Shift2Rail projects, X2Rail-2 and ASTRail, have addressed this issue by performing a systematic search over the state...
Article
Full-text available
Interviews are the most widely used elicitation technique in requirements engineering (RE). However, conducting a requirements elicitation interview is challenging. The mistakes made in design or conduct of the interviews can create problems in the later stages of requirements analysis. Empirical evidence about effective pedagogical approaches for...
Article
Full-text available
During requirements elicitation, different stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and skills need to effectively communicate to reach a shared understanding of the problem at hand. Linguistic ambiguity due to terminological discrepancies may occur between stakeholders that belong to different technical domains. If not properly addressed, ambiguity c...
Chapter
Full-text available
Efficient and safe railway signalling systems, together with energy-saving infrastructures, are among the main pillars to guarantee sustainable transportation. ERTMS L3 moving block is one of the next generation railway signalling systems currently under trial deployment, with the promise of increased capacity on railway tracks, reduced costs and i...
Data
Presentation associated to the paper: Natural language requirements processing: from research to practice
Article
As researchers and teachers and practitioners, we “software types” excel at multitasking. This, in part, led us to ask the question: Can one attend a software engineering conference and do something good for society? We found the answer to be a resounding yes. In this article, we present our first experience of running RE Cares, a conference colloc...
Chapter
Full-text available
Formal methods and tools have been widely applied to thedevelopment of railway systems during the last decades. However, no uni-versally accepted formal framework has emerged, and railway companieswishing to introduce formal methods have little guidance for the selec-tion of the most appropriate methods and tools to adopt. A work pack-age (WP) of t...
Article
Full-text available
FIND THE PREPRINT at http://rdcu.be/HtDi In the railway safety-critical domain requirements documents have to abide to strict quality criteria. Rule-based natural language processing (NLP) techniques have been developed to automatically identify quality defects in natural language requirements. However, the literature is lacking empirical studie...
Article
Full-text available
European Union (EU) projects are means of the European Commission for funding research activities. Such projects address challenging research objectives by involving both academic and industrial partners, from several countries. Information and communication technologies–related projects often undertake to deliver a software system prototype. In su...
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Full-text available
As part of the growing interest in natural language processing for requirements engineering (RE), RE researchers, computational linguists, and industry practitioners met at the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Requirements Engineering (NLP4RE 18). This article summarizes the workshop and presents an overview of the discussion held...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
[Context] Interviews are the most widely used elicitation technique in requirements engineering. However, conducting effective requirements elicitation interviews is challenging, due to the combination of technical and soft skills that requirements analysts often acquire after a long period of professional practice. Empirical evidence about trainin...
Preprint
Full-text available
During requirements elicitation, different stakehold-ers with diverse backgrounds and skills need to effectively communicate to reach a shared understanding of the problem at hand. Linguistic ambiguity due to terminological discrepancies may occur between stakeholders that belong to different technical domains. If not properly addressed, ambiguity...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The requirements problem consists of transforming stakeholder requirements-however informal, ambiguous, conflicting , unattainable, imprecise and incomplete-into a consistent , complete and realizable specification through a systematic process. We propose a refinement calculus for requirements engineering (CaRE) for solving this problem, which take...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
During requirements elicitation, different stakehold- ers with diverse backgrounds and skills need to effectively communicate to reach a shared understanding of the problem at hand. Linguistic ambiguity due to terminological discrepan- cies may occur between stakeholders that belong to different technical domains. If not properly addressed, ambigui...
Article
Full-text available
In the ever expanding universe of formal methods, several tools exist that can be exploited to validate early system designs, and that are applicable to problems of the railway domain. In this paper, we present an experience report in formal modelling and verification using seven different formal environments, namely UMC, Promela/SPIN, NuSMV, mCRL2...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Automated manipulation of natural language requirements, for classification, tracing, defect detection, information extraction, and other tasks, has been pursued by requirements engineering (RE) researchers for more than two decades. Recent technological advancements in natural language processing (NLP) have made it possible to apply this research...
Article
Soil structure is a key factor that supports all soil functions. Extracting intact soil cores and horizon specific samples for determination of soil physical parameters (e.g. bulk density (Bd) or particle size distribution) is a common practice for assessing indicators of soil structure. However, these are often difficult to measure, since they req...
Article
Full-text available
Communications-based Train Control (CBTC) systems are metro signalling platforms, which coordinate and protect the movements of trains within the tracks of a station, and between different stations. In CBTC platforms, a prominent role is played by the Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) system, which automatically dispatches and routes trains within...
Chapter
Full-text available
[Context and Motivation] Ambiguities identified during requirements elicitation interviews can be used by the requirements analyst as triggers for additional questions and, consequently, for disclosing further – possibly tacit – knowledge. Therefore, every unidentified ambiguity may be a missed opportunity to collect additional information. [Questi...