University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center
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Mats Heimdahl

Photo of Mats Heimdahl
Computer Science and Engineering Department Head
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

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.

Improving the Accuracy of Oracle Verdicts Through Automated Model Steering

The oracle—a judge of the correctness of the system under test (SUT)—is a major component of the testing process. Specifying test oracles is challenging for some domains, such as real-time embedded systems, where small changes in timing or sensory input may cause large behavioral differences. Models of such systems, often built for analysis and simulation, are appealing for reuse as oracles. These models, however, typically represent an idealized system, abstracting away certain issues such as non-deterministic timing behavior and sensor noise.

Reasoning about Confidence and Uncertainty in Assurance Cases: A Survey

Assurance cases are structured logical arguments supported by evidence that explain how systems, possibly software systems, satisfy desirable properties for safety, security or reliability. The confidence in both the logical reasoning and the underlying evidence is a factor that must be considered carefully when evaluating an assurance case; the developers must have confidence in their case before the system is delivered and the assurance case reviewer, such as a regulatory body, must have adequate confidence in the case before approving the system for use.

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