Re: [SystemSafety] Another academic safety workshop / why not industrialists ?

From: Martyn Thomas < >
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2015 11:52:42 +0000

When I ran Praxis, half a lifetime ago, our policy was to share our IPR with anyone who wanted it. Our reasoning was that the more companies there were who used and promoted formal methods or who used strong, ISO 9001 quality management and engineering processes, the more these things would be expected by clients. Since we believed that we were easily the best company who could supply those methods, we were happy to have others help develop the market. My message was "we shall be on top of the heap, so the bigger the heap, the more clients will be able to see us."

So we willingly gave away all our QMS standards and documentation.

In the world of software development, any company that believes that it has unique insights and processes is wrong, and any company that behaves that way is likely to become insular, compacent, and doomed.


On 17/01/2015 01:59, Les Chambers wrote:
> Paul
> Thanks for this. You've neatly summarised the problem. Companies typically
> spend millions learning about the utility of various technologies and are
> not willing to give away competitive advantage.
> As a result the "good ideas" that emerge from high intensity application of
> various technologies are often buried for decades. I plan to discuss one
> example of this in an after dinner speech at the SCSC symposium in Bristol.
> The reason I can speak about it at all is: this scenario has its origins 40
> years ago. The technology in question is now well documented in the
> literature and nobody will sue me.
> I suspect this problem will never go away. After all, why would a company
> send representatives to speak at a seminar and pass around all their
> proprietary secrets. Conferences will continue to be populated by academics
> talking to each other. This is not necessarily bad because ideas are thrown
> around and collective wisdom no doubt improves them. I was once privileged
> to hear Ted Codd speak. He was the originator of the theory behind
> relational database technology. A humble researcher, he was astounded that
> 300 people would turn up to hear anything he might have to say.
> One suggested improvement is better collaboration between academia and
> industry - the Americans are good at this. I have seen cases where academics
> have been seconded, long term, to complex systems projects and have made a
> useful contribution. Apply the torch to the belly of academic theory and you
> often come up with useful objects. In one case the entire V&V group within
> the computer science department of the University was hired away to work on
> a large project. I don't think any of the academics ever went back to their
> university. Many of them have gone on to stellar careers in industry.
> Cheers
> Les
> -----Original Message-----
> From: systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx > [mailto:systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx > Stachour, Paul D BIS
> Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:35 PM
> To: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx > Subject: Re: [SystemSafety] Another academic safety workshop / why not
> industrialists ?
> Peter, Martyn, and all,
> For me, who works at a company that builds safety-systems, the answer is
> "Not much".
> I suspect that is true for others as well. Like many industrialists, the
> criteria for me to attend
> any out-of-town conference is that I must write, submit, and have accepted a
> paper to give at such conference.
> However, getting clearance for such a paper from Engineering, Marketing,
> Legal, etc., not only at the factory
> where I work, but from the divisional headquarters as well, is a very
> time-consuming and lengthy process.
> And the "lessons learned" kind of paper, which indicates what works for
> us, and what does not work for us;
> at least in the time/effort required for a given technology and the
> respective results, is very unlikely
> to be approved, since it could very well be considered as "giving away some
> of our company's advantages."
> In particular, if I write something on the order of:
> In developing products A & B, we used technology T on A, but not on B, and
> found that T either was very helpful,
> or that the use of T had no effect on our defect-rates.
> Then
> 1) That is the kind of experiential paper that I as an industrialist would
> consider quite useful.
> 2) That topic has almost no chance of being approved.
> Regards, ..Paul S.
> Paul D. Stachour
> Software Quality Assurance
> Detector Electronics Corporation
> A UTC Fire & Security Company
> 6901 West 110th Street, Bloomington, MN 55438 USA
> 952-941-5665, x8409
> Paul.Stachour_at_xxxxxx >
> --The ideas and opinions expressed in this message
> --are solely those of the message originator(s).
> --The opinions of the author(s) expressed
> --herein do not necessarily state or reflect those
> --of Detector Electronics, or of United Technologies
> --Corporation. They may not be further disseminated
> --without permission. They may not be used
> --for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx > [mailto:systemsafety-bounces_at_xxxxxx > Martyn Thomas
> Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 3:41 AM
> To: systemsafety_at_xxxxxx > Subject: [External] Re: [SystemSafety] Another academic safety workshop
> It's a pity, of course, but what's the incentive for an industrialist to
> give up the required time (and sometimes travel costs) to PC duties?
> Martyn
> On 14/01/2015 09:05, Peter Bernard Ladkin wrote:
>> Is it just me, or are others sceptical about a - yet another -
>> workshop on safety which has only academics on the PC?
>> PBL
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