Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Safety critical computer based systems

A 4-channel, safety critical computer based system has been developed. The development of the 4 diverse software versions focused on a variety of methodologies, each using different tools and techniques, and each originating from different project teams. 4 teams each designed one of the channels, one designed the test environment, and 2 teams act as licensing bodies. The main stages of the project have been:
the provision of cost effectiveness measurements of currently available methods and tools for creating and assessing software systems for safety related applications (from industrial trials);
the preparation of guidelines for the production and assessment of computer based systems for use in safety critical applications;
the evaluation of the level of reliability achieved by combining a number of diversely produced channels in one configuration;
the provision of a benchmark environment as a basis for a service to European enterprises involved in the development of safety critical systems.

A control application in a nuclear plant was selected, and the parameters drawn up to assign development work to the teams. All channels passed the simple acceptance tests and were delivered for integration into the demonstrator/test harness at the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA). The product and process data from the channels was collated and sent for consistency checking to AEA. Assessment data was also collected for subsequent analysis. The first phase of the system testing of the channels showed a number of errors that required repair before testing could continue. Preliminary analysis of the development data was carried out. Repairs to the channels were completed and a second phase of testing started. Analysis of the assessment data commenced with the production of system models and the use of the software lifecycle assessment technique (SLAT) to establish the risk of using a particular lifecycle. Phase two of the system testing was completed. The Prometrix tool was used to provide metrics of the product source code, allowing comparison of the source and the productivity achieved by the different lifecycles employed.

Reported by

AEA Technology
Winfrith Technology Centre
DT2 8DH Dorchester
United Kingdom
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