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

Are We There Yet? Determining the Adequacy of Formalized Requirements and Test Suites

Structural coverage metrics have traditionally categorized code as either covered or uncovered. Recent work presents a stronger notion of coverage, checked coverage, which counts only statements whose execution contributes to an outcome checked by an oracle. While this notion of coverage addresses the adequacy of the oracle, for Model-Based Development of safety critical systems, it is still not enough; we are also interested in how much of the oracle is covered, and whether the values of program variables are masked when the oracle is evaluated.

Towards Realizability Checking of Contracts using Theories

Virtual integration techniques focus on building architectural models of systems that can be analyzed early in the design cycle to try to lower cost, reduce risk, and improve quality of complex embedded systems. Given appropriate architectural descriptions and compositional reasoning rules, these techniques can be used to prove important safety properties about the architecture prior to system construction.

Requirements Analysis of a Quad-Redundant Flight Control System

In this paper we detail our effort to formalize and prove requirements for the Quad-redundant Flight Control System (QFCS) within NASA’s Transport Class Model (TCM). We use a compositional approach with assume-guarantee contracts that correspond to the requirements for software components embedded in an AADL system architecture model. This approach is designed to exploit the verification effort and artifacts that are already part of typical software verification processes in the avionics domain.

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