Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

A formal software specification system

A formal specification system supports developers in specifying safety-critical and security-critical software.

In many industrial applications where safety and mission completion are key concerns, software reliability, accuracy and productivity are critical. There is therefore an increasing demand among many sectors, including transportation, traffic control, healthcare, aviation and the military, for improvements in software design and quality. This can be achieved through the adoption of formal software specifications that impose certain safety and security conditions.

The Vienna Development Method (VDM), one of the most mature methods for the formal specification of software, is supported by a range of high-quality products developed by the Institute of Applied Computer Science (IFAD) and its partners. IFAD offers a collection of leading edge tools for formal specification. These products support specification, animation and validation of code written both in the standard notation, 'VDSM-SL', and the object-oriented version, 'VDM++'. The tools' 'validation through animation' feature supports the incremental introduction of formal methods in industry, essential to their acceptance and understanding by the software development community. C++ code, commonly used in industry, can be generated automatically from either VDM-SL or VDM++ specifications.

The VSM-SL Toolbox was released in January 1994 and has been installed at a number of sites worldwide. Sales are still growing and there is a notable increase in industrial customers. The VDM++ Toolbox has also been well received, with licensees already installed in France, Germany and the United States.

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