Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Potential benefits and state-of-the-art formal methods for European software developers

A series of seminars helped raise awareness amongst European software developers of the potential benefits and state-of-the-art in formal methods. Formal methods are mathematically-based approaches to software and system development that support the rigorous specification, design and verification of computer systems. Typical formal methods include VDM, Z, RAISE and LOTOS. They play a major part in ensuring confidence in functional correctness during different phases of software development.
Despite their advantages, the penetration of these techniques into industry has been slower than some people had hoped. One reason is the lack of easily accessible information about the tools available, their ease of use and applicability for different purposes.
A series of seminars held across the European Union (EU), helped increase awareness of the potential benefits of formal methods amongst software developers. The industrial seminars introduced participants to the key issues in the use of formal techniques so that they were equipped to find out more detailed technical information or make contacts with existing practitioners. The seminars were presented at management level rather than at a detailed technical level. They taught the situations in which the application of formal methods is appropriate and most beneficial and what the benefits are. Attendees acquired a clear understanding of the initial investment necessary for a successful use of formal development methods. The seminars also provided pointers to information on further applications, teaching resources and course material, and where tools could be obtained.

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