Y. Liu, J. Lin, J. Cleland-Huang, M. Vierhauser, J. Guo, S. Lohar: SENET: A Semantic Web for Supporting Automation of Software Engineering Tasks, IEEE Seventh International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Requirements Engineering (AIRE), Zurich, Switzerland, virtual event, September 1, 2020. Doi: 10.1109/AIRE51212.2020.00011
The use of Natural Language (NL) interfaces to allow devices and applications to respond to verbal commands or free-form textual queries is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. To a large extent, their success in interpreting and responding to a request is dependent upon rich underlying ontologies and conceptual models that understand the technical or domain specific vocabulary of diverse users. The effective use of NL interfaces in the Software Engineering (SE) domains requires its own ontology models focusing upon software related terms and concepts. While many SE glossaries exist, they are often incomplete and tend to define the vocabulary for specific sub-fields without capturing associations between terms and phrases. This limits their usefulness for supporting NL-related tasks. In this paper we propose an approach for constructing and evolving a semantic network of software engineering concepts and phrases. Our approach starts with a set of existing SE glossaries, uses the existing glossary terms and explicitly defined associations as a starting point, uses machine learning-based techniques to dynamically identify and document additional associations between terms, leverages the network to interpret NL queries in the SE domain, and finally augments the resulting semantic network with feedback provided by users. We evaluate the viability of our approach within the sub-domain of Agile Software Development, focusing on requirements related queries, and show that the semantic network enhances the ability of an NL interface to correctly interpret and execute user queries.