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CRITICAL Software Technology for an Evolutionary Partnership

Final Report Summary - CRITICAL STEP (CRITICAL Software Technology for an Evolutionary Partnership)

The CRITICAL-STEP (CRITICAL Software Technology for an Evolutionary Partnership) Project was a four year EU FP7 project running from 2010 to 2013. It brought together 4 partners from university and research centers, and small and medium enterprises (SME) from two European countries (one research center and SME in Italy, called respectively CINI and SESM, and the others in Portugal, respectively FCTUC and CSW). The aim of the CSTEP project was to establish the basis for a long term strategic research collaboration between partners involved in this project in the growing and challenging domain of software for large-scale Safety-Critical Systems (SCSs) based on the use of Off-The-Shelf (OTS) software components for the control of complex distributed infrastructures such as Air Traffic Management (ATM) systems, complex industrial plants, etc. The project developed three tools:
• WSRTesting tool (jointly developed by SESM and FCTUC): it performs the robustness testing of heterogeneous web services through the execution of automatic and proper tests. It does not require a knowledge on the web service to be assessed, but only the URL of the wsdl describing the service;
• SAFE (Software Fault Emulator) tool (the version for software in C++ has been jointly developed by CSW and CINI; while, the version for Java programs by SESM and FCTUC): it is a tool for the injection of realistic software faults ("bugs") in complex software systems, aiming at assessing fault tolerance mechanisms and algorithms (e.g. exception handlers, code assertions) against faulty software components, and for dependability benchmarking of different OTS-based software components;
• MultiCore injection tool (jointly developed by CSW and CINI): it is a tool for the injection of hardware errors in multicore processors to test how the application and operating systems behave in spite of multicore errors. It supports the analysis of dependability issues of multicore systems, allowing the investigation of aspects such as the impact of hardware errors on dependability and/or performance requirements, and error propagation phenomena caused by shared resources among cores.
Once developed, these components were tested on real case industrial scenarios taken from the domain of Air Traffic Management and Air Space.

The CSTEP project was implemented in five Work Packages, under the leadership of the senior researchers of the consortium. 19 research fellows from the participating institutions were seconded to organizations in the different country of their own, while 4 experienced researchers have been recruited. In addition, to the research activities, a rich programme of exchange of knowledge has been implemented. The project implementation consisted in 173.25 RM.The objectives of the CSTEP project were completed successfully within budget and on time.

The research and deliverables from the CSTEP project have been disseminated widely both locally, in the countries of respective CSTEP partners and internationally through journal and conference papers and a final international event. Information from the project has been made available to academia and the critical system industry. All the material produced within the context of the project can be accessed through the web site at