University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center

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Mats Heimdahl

Photo of Mats Heimdahl
Computer Science and Engineering Department Head
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Kenneth H Keller Hall room 6-201

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

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


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.


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.


Software engineering and safety critical systems.

Recent Publications

Test-Sequence Generation from Formal Requirement Models

This paper discusses a method for generating test sequences from state-based specifications. We show how a model checker can be used to automatically generate complete test sequences that will provide arbitrary structural coverage of requirements specified in a high-level language like SCR or rsml. We have defined a language independent formal foundation for test sequence generation using model checkers that is suitable for representing software artifacts like requirements models, software specifications, and code. This paper shows a

Automatic Abstraction for Model Checking Software Systems with Interrelated Numeric Constraints

Model checking techniques have not been effective in important classes of software systems characterized by large (or infinite) input domains with interrelated linear and non-linear constraints over the input variables. Various model abstraction techniques have been proposed to address this problem. In this paper, we wish to propose domain abstraction based on data equivalence and trajectory reduction as an alternative and complement to other abstraction techniques. Our technique applies the abstraction to the input domain (environment) instead of the model and is

Extending the Product Family Approach to Support n-Dimensional and Hierarchical Product Lines

The software product-line approach (for software product families) is one of the success stories of software reuse. When applied, it can result in cost savings and increases in productivity. In addition, in safety-critical systems the approach has the potential for reuse of analysis and testing results, which can lead to a safer systems. Nevertheless, there are times when it seems like a product family approach should work when, in fact, there are difficulties in properly defining the boundaries of the product family.