University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center

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Critical Systems Research Group

The Critical Systems Research Group’s (CriSys) research interests are in the general area of software engineering; in particular, software development for critical software applications — applications where incorrect operation of the software could lead to loss of life, substantial material or environmental damage, or large monetary losses. The long-term goal of our research activities is the development of a comprehensive framework for the development of software for critical software systems. Our work has focused on some of the most difficult and least understood aspects of software development—requirements specification and validation/verification.

Recent Publications

Challenges in Testing Next Generation CPS Systems

Testing cyber-physical systems presents a unique set of testing challenges: heterogeneity, timing, and, especially, observability. In particular, some of the mechanisms that are designed to make embedded software robust are the same mechanisms that present challenges for automated testing techniques: e.g., rate limiting, fault masking, and debounce logic, which can lead to long lags between problematic inputs and their manifestation in system outputs. In addition, much of the control behavior of CPS is mathematically intensive more than "branchy".

Domain Modeling for Development Process Simulation

Simulating agile processes prior to adoption can reduce the risk of enacting an ill-fitting process. Agent-based simulation is well-suited to capture the individual decision-making valued in agile. Yet, agile's lightweight nature creates simulation difficulties as agents must fill-in gaps within the specified process. Deliberative agents can do this given a suitable planning domain model. However, no such model, nor guidance for creating one, currently exists.

Requirements and Architectures for Secure Vehicles

In the High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems project, researchers are investigating how to construct complex networked-vehicle software securely. Experiments demonstrated that careful attention to requirements and system architecture, along with formally verified approaches that remove known security weaknesses, can lead to vehicles that can withstand attacks from even sophisticated attackers with access to vehicle design data.