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Using Safety Contracts to Verify Design Assumptions During Runtime
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9347-1949
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5269-3900
2018 (English)In: Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), Volume 10873, 2018, p. 3-18Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A safety case comprises evidence and argument justifying how each item of evidence supports claims about safety assurance. Supporting claims by untrustworthy or inappropriate evidence can lead to a false assurance regarding the safe performance of a system. Having sufficient confidence in safety evidence is essential to avoid any unanticipated surprise during operational phase. Sometimes, however, it is impractical to wait for high quality evidence from a system’s operational life, where developers have no choice but to rely on evidence with some uncertainty (e.g., using a generic failure rate measure from a handbook to support a claim about the reliability of a component). Runtime monitoring can reveal insightful information, which can help to verify whether the preliminary confidence was over- or underestimated. In this paper, we propose a technique which uses runtime monitoring in a novel way to detect the divergence between the failure rates (which were used in the safety analyses) and the observed failure rates in the operational life. The technique utilises safety contracts to provide prescriptive data for what should be monitored, and what parts of the safety argument should be revisited to maintain system safety when a divergence is detected. We demonstrate the technique in the context of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. p. 3-18
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 10873
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-38957DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-92432-8_1Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-850490089662-s2.0-85049008966ISBN: 9783319924311 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-38957DiVA, id: diva2:1205958
Conference
23rd International Conference on Reliable Software Technologies, Ada-Europe 2018, 18-22 June 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
Available from: 2018-05-15 Created: 2018-05-15 Last updated: 2018-11-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Contracts-Based Maintenance of Safety Cases
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contracts-Based Maintenance of Safety Cases
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Safety critical systems are those systems whose failure could result in loss of life, significant property damage, or damage to the environment. System safety is a major property that shall be adequately assured to avoid any severe outcomes in safety critical systems. Safety assurance should provide justified confidence that all potential risks due to system failures are either eliminated or acceptably mitigated. System developers in many domains (e.g., automotive, avionics, railways) should provide convincing arguments regarding the safe performance of their systems to a national or international regulatory authority and obtain approvals before putting the system into service.  Building 'Safety cases' is a proven technique to argue about and communicate systems' safety and it has become a common practice in many safety critical system domains. System developers use safety cases to articulate claims about how systems meet their safety requirements and objectives, collect and document items of evidence, and construct a safety argument to show how the available items of evidence support the claims.

Safety critical systems are evolutionary and constantly subject to preventive, perfective, corrective or adaptive changes during both the development and operational phases. Changes to any part of those systems can undermine the confidence in safety since changes can refute articulated claims about safety or challenge the supporting evidence on which this confidence relies. Hence, safety cases need to be built as living documents that should always be maintained to justify the safety status of the associated system and evolve as these systems evolve. However, building safety cases are costly since they require a significant amount of time and efforts to define the safety objectives, generate the required evidence and conclude the underlying logic behind the safety case arguments. Safety cases document highly dependent elements such as safety goals, assumptions and evidence. Seemingly minor changes may have a major impact. Changes to a system or its environment can necessitate a costly and painstaking impact analysis for systems and their safety cases. In addition, changes may require system developers to generate completely new items of evidence by repeating the verification activities. Therefore, changes can exacerbate the cost of producing and maintaining safety cases.  

Safety contracts have been proposed as a means for helping to manage changes. There have been works that discuss the usefulness of contracts for reusability and maintainability. However, there has been little attention on how to derive them and how exactly they can be utilised for system or safety case maintenance.

The main goal of this thesis is to support the change impact analysis as a key factor to enhance the maintainability of safety cases. We focus on utilising safety contracts to achieve this goal. To address this, we study how safety contracts can support essential factors for any useful change management process, such as (1) identifying the impacted  elements  and  those  that  are  not  impacted, (2) minimising the number of impacted  safety  case  elements, and (3) reducing the  work  needed  to  make  the  impacted  safety  case  elements valid again. The preliminary finding of our study reveals that using safety contracts can be promising to develop techniques and processes to facilitate safety case maintenance. The absence of safety case maintenance guidelines from safety standards and the lack of systematic and methodical maintenance techniques have motivated the work of this thesis. Our work is presented through a set of developed and assessed techniques, where these techniques utilise safety contracts to achieve the overall goal by various contributions. We begin by a framework for evaluation of the impact of change on safety critical systems and safety cases. Through this, we identify and highlight the most sensitive system components to a particular change. We propose new ways to associate system design elements with safety case arguments to enable traceability. How to identify and reduce the propagation of change impact is addressed subsequently.  Our research also uses safety contracts to enable through-life safety assurance by monitoring and detecting any potential mismatch between the design safety assumptions and the actual behaviour of the system during its operational phase. More specifically, we use safety contracts to capture thresholds of selected safety requirements and compare them with the runtime related data (i.e., operational data) to continuously assess and evolve the safety arguments.

In summary, our proposed techniques pave the way for cost-effective maintenance of safety cases upon preventive, perfective, corrective or adaptive changes in safety critical systems thus helping better decision support for change impact analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2018
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 280
National Category
Computer Systems
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41281 (URN)978-91-7485-417-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-12-03, Kappa, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-02 Created: 2018-11-02 Last updated: 2018-11-14Bibliographically approved

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Jaradat, OmarPunnekkat, Sasikumar

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