The objective of this project is to increase the awareness of organisations developing software of the existence, potential benefits, and state-of-the-art of formal methods. The seminars are intended to teach the situations in which the application of formal methods is appropriate and most beneficial, and what the benefits are. Actual case studies will be presented by companies involved in earlier experiences Attendees should acquire a clear understanding of the initial investment necessary for a successful use of formal development methods. The seminars will provide pointers to information on further applications of formal methods, teaching resources and course material, and where tools can be obtained.
The project will carry out three one-week tours of industrial seminars during its 18 months duration. On each tour, a team of four people will travel from event to event in different countries, presenting largely the same material at each event. Most of the participants in the project, who come from eight different Community countries, will organise one of these seminars to be held in their own country. Prior to each of the seminars a careful selection of attendees for special invitation will be announced electronically, and publicity material will be distributed to a wider range of companies producing software. If possible, the national seminars will be linked together with activities of national groups interested in quality in software development.
Industrial experience, including empirical experiments, indicates that formal methods are an efficient means of improving the quality of the software development process. Since software plays a significant role in an increasing number of products in various sectors of industry, it is important that industry is in a position to use formal methods. Certain parts of industry are getting an increased awareness of formal methods. However, in order to convince industry to introduce formal methods, the awareness is not enough; it needs to be backed up by information about the demonstrated applicability and guidance in the introduction of the technology. This project will provide industry with that information.
In a number of areas, in particular safety-critical systems, standards that mention and recommend the use of formal methods are emerging. In order to ensure that European industry is not going to be taken by surprise when such standards become effective, it needs to be able to apply formal methods. And since the introduction of new technology takes time, it is important to initiate the process as early as possible.