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Safety-Critical Software Put ­nder Scrutiny

By McMaster ­niversity (Canada)

June 25, 2009

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The Centre for Safety-Critical Software Certification, a new global research center based at McMaster University, will be dedicated to eliminating the possibility of catastrophic medical, energy, or transportation disasters that are the result of software failures. The center will lead research and development efforts in product-focused certification standards and processes for critical software applications, initially focusing on the operation of pacemakers, health-monitoring equipment, banking transactions, financial reporting, and nuclear reactors.

Partners in the project include 19 researchers from three universities and eight industry partners, including McMaster, the University of Waterloo, and York University.

"Almost everything we do today relies on software, whether it's making a heart beat properly, transferring funds, or generating electricity," says Tom Maibaum, the initiative's principal investigator and the Canada Research Chair in Foundations of Software Engineering at McMaster. "This project is about making a major improvement in the way we build safety-critical software applications, and the way in which we evaluate those applications in order to certify them as safe and effective."

The researchers will develop product-based methods for verifying software-intensive critical systems for certification that will replace the current process-based verification methods. The tools and methods developed by the researchers will be used and commercialized by industrial partners that specialize in certification and qualification software or software development tools.

From McMaster University (Canada)
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