University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center

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Evidence Based Certification: The Safety Case Approach

Date of Event: 
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 2:45pm to 3:45pm
In recent years for many safety-critical industries in Europe there has been a marked shift in the regulatory approach to ensuring software safety. Whereas compliance with prescriptive development standards was the norm, the responsibility is shifting back onto developers to construct and present well reasoned arguments that their software behaves in an acceptably safe manner (within the system context). These structured arguments (together with the appropriate supporting evidence) are typically referred to as a software “safety case”. This talk presents the principles of selecting and producing compelling and focused software safety evidence as part of an overall software safety case. In particular, the interrelationship between product evidence and evidence of 'due' process will be discussed. A comparison will be made with the approach inherent in current software certification standards and guidance documents (such as DO178B and IEC61508) with a view to discussing the challenges ahead in developing, and adhering to, future software certification standards.