Structural Domain Modelling for Policy Language Specialization with Conflict Analysis
thesisposted on 06.09.2012, 11:47 authored by Zohra Ahsan Khowaja
Policies are descriptive and provide information which can be used to modify the behaviour of a system without the need of recompilation and redeployment. They are usually written in a policy definition language which allows end users to specify their requirements, preferences and constraints. Policies are used in many software application areas: network management, telecommunications, security, and access control are some typical examples. Ponder, KAoS, Rein, XACML, and WSPL are examples of policy definition languages. These languages are usually targeted at a specific domain, hence there is a plethora of languages. APPEL (the Adaptable Programmable Policy Environment Language)  has followed a different approach: It is a generic policy description language conceived with a clear separation between core language and its specialization for concrete domains. So far, there has not been any formal method for the extension and domain specialization of the APPEL policy language. Policy conflict can occur when a new or a modified policy is deployed in a policy server, which leads to unspecified behaviour. To make policy based systems conflict free it is necessary to detect and resolve conflicts before they occur, otherwise the intended behaviour of a policy cannot be guaranteed. We introduce a structural modelling approach to specialize the policy language for different domains, implemented in the VIATRA2 graph transformation tool. This approach is applied to APPEL. Our method for conflict analysis is based on the modelling methodology. As conflicts depend on domain knowledge, it is sensible to use this knowledge for conflict analysis. The identified conflicting actions are then encoded in the ALLOY model checker that confirm the existence of actual and potential conflicts.