Re: [SystemSafety] Development of code for ASICs under IEC 61508

From: SPRIGGS, John J < >
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2013 07:47:56 +0000

In a previous job, I was advised by a Regulator that if I were to design a device using hardware techniques, e.g. describing it using NAND gates on a circuit diagram, then I should assure it as a piece of hardware, but if I were to design it using software techniques, e.g. describing it in VHDL, then I should assure it as if it were a piece of software.


From: systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx Sent: 02 July 2013 17:32
To: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Subject: [SystemSafety] Development of code for ASICs under IEC 61508

Dear Colleagues

I have a question about code developed for ASICs under IEC 61508:2010. IEC 61508-2 specifies that an ASIC development life cycle shall be used and notes the similarity between the software and ASIC life cycles ( Note 2). However, there is a concern that the standard's requirements for the ASIC life cycle appear to be less than those for software. For example, IEC 61508-3 specifies requirements for tools, including programming languages in para 7.4.4. On the other hand, IEC 61508-2 is less forthcoming on the issue of tools. It cross refers to para of IEC 61508-3 in 7.8 the section on modification (, and also mentions in Table B6 (normative) Use of tools that are proven in use (see 7.4.10) or validated; general computer aided development for all phases of the safety lifecycle.

Thus, should one interpret the standard along the lines that when one needs to certify an ASIC against IEC 61508-2, then it must also be the case that the ASIC code complies with IEC 61508-3 as well?


Kind regards

Martin Lloyd


Dr M H Lloyd CEng FIET


Tel: +44(0)118 941 2728

Mobile: +44(0)786 697 6840<>


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Received on Thu Jul 04 2013 - 09:48:05 CEST

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