Re: [SystemSafety] Logic

From: Steve Tockey < >
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2014 19:24:46 +0000

All,
I should have added that a new version of the "Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge" (aka "SWEBOK Guide", in this case SWEBOK Guide V3) has recently been released by the IEEE Computer Society. You can get your own PDF copy by going to http://www.swebok.org and then clicking on the "PDF (free)" link under "Get the SWEBOK Guide". This new version is a significant update from the previous 2003 version. Among other things, several new "Knowledge Areas" have been added.

A quick survey shows the following sections talking about formal methods of one sort or another: Chapter 1: Software Requirements

    Section 1.4.5: Formal Analysis
    Possibly Section 1.6.3: Model Validation

Chapter 9: Software Engineering Models and Methods

    Section 9.1.4: Preconditions, postconditions, and invariants     Possibly Section 9.3: Analysis of models     Section 9.4.2: Formal Methods

Chapter 14: Mathematical Foundations

So my point is that the SWEBOK Guide people have at least recognized the need for formality in professional software development. Hopefully, as industry and academia adopt SWEBOK Guide as a description/definition of "what software engineering is" then there will necessarily be an increased emphasis on formality.

From: John Knight <jck_at_xxxxxx Organization: University of Virginia
Date: Sunday, February 16, 2014 10:02 AM Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Logic

Note that I was suggesting concepts that I would like to see included in higher education, not commenting on current practice.

As many have noted, current practice in a variety of industries in several countries rarely (although there are exceptions) includes significant rigour let alone application of formal methods.

On 2/16/14, 12:11 PM, RICQUE Bertrand (SAGEM DEFENSE SECURITE) wrote:

Bertrand Ricque
Program Manager
Optronics and Defence Division
Sights Program
Mob : +33 6 87 47 84 64
Tel : +33 1 59 11 96 82
Bertrand.ricque_at_xxxxxx

c.

Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2014 5:58 PM
To: Peter Bernard Ladkin; knight_at_xxxxxx Cc: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Logic

Peter,

obviously I agree with much of what you say. But I am discussing with people who believe that we

constitute an exception to much of it.

I think we are talking about different things. Research projects need software rapid prototypes to support investigation in areas such as AI and robotics. These are "throw-away" prototypes that should never make it into production and usually don't.

I am talking about software products that are part of engineered computer systems which will subject others (possibly the general public) to risk. Higher education has a responsibility to prepare professional engineers to perform that engineering. That education needs to make it clear that:

In response to the comment from Les Chambers:

"We must find a way to bring formal methods out of the lab and into general use."

I generally agree. But I note that we have industrial strength systems such as SPARK Ada, industrial scope use of such systems such as the NATS iFACTS system, and substantial evidence from Peter Amey and his colleagues that applying such technology is cheaper and better than the informal alternatives.

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