Technical Reports

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Large scale software systems challenge almost every activity in the software development life-cycle, including tasks related to eliciting, analyzing, and specifying requirements. Fortunately many of these complexities can be addressed through clustering the requirements in order to create abstractions that are meaningful to human stakeholders. For example, the requirements elicitation process can be supported through dynamically clustering incoming stakeholders’ requests into themes. Cross-cutting concerns, which have a significant impact on the architectural design, can be identified through the use of fuzzy clustering techniques and metrics designed to detect when a theme cross-cuts the dominant decomposition of the system. Finally, traceability techniques, required in critical software projects by many regulatory bodies, can be automated and enhanced by the use of cluster-based information retrieval methods. Unfortunately, despite a significant body of work describing document clustering techniques, there is almost no prior work which directly addresses the challenges, constraints, and nuances of requirements clustering. As a result, the effectiveness of software engineering tools and processes that depend on requirements clustering is severely limited. This report directly addresses the problem of clustering requirements through surveying standard clustering techniques and discussing their application to the requirements clustering process.