Certifiably safe software-dependent systems: challenges and directions
Proceedings of the on Future of Software Engineering - FOSE 2014
The amount and impact of software-dependence in critical systems impinging on daily life is increasing rapidly. In many of these systems, inadequate software and systems engineering can lead to economic disaster, injuries or death. Society generally does not recognize the potential of losses from deficiencies of systems due to software until after some mishap occurs. Then there is an outcry, reflecting societal expectations; however, few know what it takes to achieve the expected safety and, in
... general, loss-prevention. On the one hand there are unprecedented, exponential increases in size, inter-dependencies, intricacies, numbers and variety in the systems and distribution of development processes across organizations and cultures. On the other hand, industry's capability to verify and validate these systems has not kept up. Mere compliance with existing standards, techniques, and regulations cannot guarantee the safety properties of these systems. The gap between practice and capability is increasing rapidly. This paper considers the future of software engineering as needed to support development and certification of safety-critical softwaredependent systems. We identify a collection of challenges and document their current state, the desired state, gaps and barriers to reaching the desired state, and potential directions in software engineering research and education that could address the gaps and barriers.