All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Anthony Skjellum

Advisory Committee Members

Mehmet Aksit

Barrett R Bryant

Thamar Solorio

Chengcui Zhang

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Software designers can benefit from the experience of engineering designers and information theory formalism. Every design starts with uncertainty and the art of software design involves uncertainty reduction. Information theory enables software designers to adopt a systems view that facilitates intellectual control over a given software design. Since design imposes organization through successive transformations in reaching the final product, it is possible to formalize design with information theory. We investigated software design as a hierarchical decomposition of design spaces. We realized that before initiating the software design process there is minimal organization, representing higher entropy. The design decisions carrying out design activities through hierarchical decomposition reduce uncertainty and therefore introduce comparatively higher organization represented by lower entropy. In this dissertation, the communication channel representation of software is developed through a process of 1) set-theoretical representation, 2) mapping to a communication channel formalism and 3) hierarchical decomposition leading to entropy reduction. This information theoretical representation allows investigating the properties of software systems as communication channels.

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