University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center
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Mats Heimdahl

Photo of Mats Heimdahl
Director of the Software Engineering Center
Director of Graduate Studies
Professor
Phone Number: 
612-625-2068
Office Location: 
Kenneth H Keller Hall room 6-201
Education: 

M.S. Computer Science and Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, 1988.

Ph.D. Computer Science, University of California at Irvine, 1994.

Biography: 

Professor Mats Heimdahl specializes in software engineering and safety critical systems. He is the director of the University of Minnesota Software Engineering Center (UMSEC).

Heimdahl is the recipient of the National Science Foundation's CAREER award, a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship and the McKnight Presidential Fellow award at the University of Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota Award for Outstanding Contributions to Post-Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.

Research: 

Software is increasingly involved in our lives; software controls physical systems ranging from microwave ovens and watches to nuclear power plants, aircraft, and cars. Computer-related failures can, in many of these applications, have catastrophic effects.

My research group, the Critical Systems Research Group (CriSys), is conducting research in software engineering and is investigating methods and tools to help us develop software with predictable behavior free from defects.

Research in this area spans all aspects of system development ranging from concept formation and requirements specification, through design and implementation, to testing and maintenance. In particular, we are currently investigating model-based software development for critical systems.

Specifically, we are focusing on how to use various static verification techniques to assure that software requirements models possess desirable properties, how to correctly generate production code from software requirements models, how to validate models, and how to effectively use the models in the testing process.

Interests: 

Software engineering and safety critical systems.

Recent Publications

Structuring Simulink Models for Verification and Reuse

Model-based development (MBD) tool suites such as Simulink and Stateflow offer powerful tools for design, development, and analysis of models. These models can be used for several purposes: for code generation, for prototyping, as descriptions of an environment (plant) that will be controlled by software, as oracles for a testing process, and many other aspects of software development. In addition, a goal of model-based development is to develop reusable models that can be easily managed in a version-controlled continuous integration process.

Exploring the Twin Peaks using Probabilistic Verification Techniques

System requirements and system architecture/design co-evolve as the understanding of both the problem at hand as well as the solution to be deployed evolve---the Twin Peaks concept. Modeling of requirements and solution is a promising approach for exploring the Twin Peaks. Commonly, such models are deterministic because of the choice of modeling notation and available analysis tools. Unfortunately, most systems operate in an uncertain environment and contain physical components whose behaviors are stochastic.

Compositional Verification of a Medical Device System

Complex systems are by necessity hierarchically organized; they are decomposed into subsystems for intellectual control as well as the ability to have the subsystems created by several distinct teams. This decomposition affects both requirements and architecture; the architecture describes the structure and this affects how requirements are ``flowed down'' to each subsystem, and discoveries in the design process may affect the requirements. Demonstrating that a complex system satisfies its requirements when the subsystems are composed is a challenging problem.

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