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The B Method, a formal method to verify specification of systems and software and develop them in accordance with the real need

Principle Problem
A major problem for companies who provide software is to develop systems in accordance with the real need and which are user friendly. These systems may comprise only software (information systems, software packages) or may be a combination of software, electronic and mechanical components (systems with embedded software). The B method and its software toolkit named Atelier B developed by Clearsy offer a answer to this problem.

Development system method
All the time, methods and toolkits are developed and offered to industry to help develop systems: ISO, CMM, V cycle, RAD Method, Graphical language SADT, UML, compilers, C, JAVA, VHDL.

Each time progress is made; it enables faster systems to be developed with greater reliability at lower cost. However, there are many failures, many long delays and prohibitive costs. Also many popular systems are used daily by millions of people worldwide despite commonly sited problems of use.

Thus, the majority of us think it inevitable that a system fails (it is not possible to do any better because its a complex system): we are used to it. We even say to ourselves that it must be our fault when the system doesn't work.

Answer provided by Formal Methods
Clearsy has invested for the last 10 years in developing formal methods, in particular the B Method.

Without being the only answer, we have proved in several industrial systems that this method is very effective, notably to specify what we expect of a system and specify functions. This effectiveness is provided by a systems model, designed with the B method, which is a mathematically proved model.

Different engineering disciplines use mathematical models: chemistry, strength of materials, servo systems. The aim of the B Method is to provide systems and software specifications based on mathematical models; these engineering stages are hardly or not at all covered by mathematical models.

The use of B Method requires that we provide mathematical models, which we organize and refine until all the specifications are exhausted. All these models are syntactically checked and automatically proved by the software toolkit Atelier B.

Industrial use
During the last 10 years, industrial software toolkit has been developed by Clearsy and principally has been used in two domains: the railway and motor industries.

To date, the use of the B Method requires the training of internal experts; experts who define particular methodology for systems developed by their companies and who assist engineer users.

Clearsys strategy consists of disseminating the Method, and of providing innovative services using the Method: software developments, critical or not, systems specifications studies and verifications, engineer toolkit developments. Customers obtain better quality deliverables without additional cost.

Furthermore, Clearsy¿s strategy consists of adapting the methodology for different industrial domains to facilitate its use. Current Internal research and European research programs have the objective of industrialising these results, in such a way that industrial companies themselves may adopt the B Method.

Un exemple de succès industriel
The development of Meteor (14th line of the French Paris underground which is fully automatic and without a driver) have used the B Method and its set of tools. Since the initial tests of the security systems to this day, no bugs have appeared in the software developed with B.

Collaborations and Partnerships
Clearsy looks for industrial companies who wish to run an experimental or an operational use of the B method, in their domain, or maybe want to adapt this method for a particular internal use.

Clearsy looks for partnerships to specify method adaptations with the objective of facilitating its use in new industrial domains.

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