Safety of Computer Control Systems 1983 (Safecomp 83). Achieving Safe Real Time Computer Systems

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Subsequent chapters explore the systems design for safety and reliability; fault tolerance, recovery, and use of redundancy; and aspects of fault tolerance for system reliability. Other chapters detail specification techniques; system development and quality assurance; verifications and validations; case studies; as well as scheduling, networks, and communications.

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Editors: J. Imprint: Pergamon. Published Date: 1st January Page Count: Flexible - Read on multiple operating systems and devices. Further, it contains a good bibliography and mentions the most relevant journals and conferences. The most frequently cited overview article is probably Leveson's from [71] which also contains a comprehensive bibliography. Leveson's paper [72] provides a more recent and slightly more popular overview. A well written brief overview of software in safety-critical applications can be found in Sommerville's book [, chapter 21].

Parnas et al. Leveson's book [73] collects and expands on her previous work on safety, in particular in computer systems, and also gives a comprehensive treatment of system safety, management aspects and human factors. Another new book, by Neumann [97], is concerned with computers and risks to primarily security and safety; it contains an extensive collection of accounts of dangerous incidents from real life.

On the other hand, Hoare considers how software has managed to become as reliable as it is, considering the development practices associated with it [56]. Both sections include extensive references to relevant literature. System safety has implications for software safety.

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Secondly, because some of the techniques from system safety have provided inspiration for software safety techniques. Techniques for enhancing safety during a construction project can be categorized according to the phase in which the technique is applied. This is done in section 2. The management of safety throughout the project phases is essential for any safety technique to work. This is the subject of section 2. Identifying and evaluating the potential hazards, safety-critical subsystems and potential safety-critical faults, are the goals of hazard analyzes as described further in section 2.

In the design phase safety-critical faults may be eliminated or their occurrence minimized, or the consequences of a fault may be minimized thus reducing the risk. Design philosophies which addresses safety is the subject of section 2. Finally, section 2. Further, that safety, reliability and dependability are distinct qualities, though sometimes overlapping.

The techniques used to successfully combat faults, and hence achieve dependability which includes safety, cf. Anderson et al.

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Fault elimination detection and removal. In the pre-operational phase and during maintenance, techniques to detect, localize and remove faults in the system are used extensively. Fault tolerance. In the operational phase, when the system is executing, fault tolerance which must be built into the system in the preceding phases may be employed to cope with run-time failures.

A system is called fault-tolerant with respect to a certain class of faults if it has the ability to deliver the expected service or at least a degraded version of it in the face of faults of that class. Fault tolerance is dealt with further in sections 2. Fault evasion. In the operational phase, it may occasionally be possible to observe the system behaviour and detect some anomaly indicating that some component is under strain and therefore likely to fail.

On one hand safety analysis is only concerned with the fault that have consequences for safety or mission, or whatever is deemed critical , not with all the other functional and non-functional requirements that are put forward for a system. An experienced person not involved in the development process should be appointed responsible for ensuring safety of the system, and all safety related activities should be systematically documented.

A safety life cycle is also found in Sommerville's book [, section Another template for standard documentation of safety is given by Terry [, p. The hazard log is initiated very early in system development, typically as part of the preliminary hazard analysis, and it is kept up-to-date throughout the lifetime of the system, i. Hence the safety case must contain an assessment of the risks associated with hazards and an account of any steps taken to reduce or eliminate hazard or risk.

The purpose of hazard analysis is see Leveson, e. It is started very early in the system development, together with concept exploration or preliminary design. The purpose of PHA is to assess risk by identifying safety-critical functions and potential hazards, and by assessing the potential consequences of hazards. The results of PHA should be used in evaluation of design alternatives and in the determination of system safety requirements.

It is often the nature of safety-critical systems that some hazardous states are entered intentionally because the associated risk is deemed acceptable in view of the importance of the system and the risks and feasibility of alternative solutions. As an example, consider a motorcar or airplane.


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Other hazardous states are not entered intentionally but their potential occurrence may still be a calculated risk it ought to be, otherwise the system has not been properly analyzed. Deliberate malicious interference of humans could be added to this list this is clearly related to security but should be included in the the hazard analysis also because the intention behind a safety violation is immaterial. A number of established techniques for identifying hazards exists. A comparison of the various analysis techniques is found in Villemeur [, chapter 22].

Established techniques include 1. Reviews and walk-throughs.


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  6. Checklists which sums up past experience and good practice. This review is often performed as a brainstorming among a team that should include domain experts. The HAZOP technique has its origin in the British chemical indus- try; its general applicability is doubted by Villemeur [, section 7. Hereby it is possible to identify the failure modes that are critical with regard to some property, e. Hence it is really a reliability technique rather than a safety technique in that it considers all failure modes, not just those endangering safety. FMEA is widely used for evaluation of hardware reliability.

    It is a method of determining in quantitative form the likelihood that something hazardous will happen. The GFCM takes combinations of faults component failures into account and hence is suited to systematic analyzes applied to sets of interacting elementary systems. SSM is described by Villemeur [, chapter 14].

    Its distinguishing feature is that it addresses repairable systems.

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    FTA is brie y described by Leveson [71, p. A FTA starts with a single undesirable event. The purpose of the method is to identify those event combinations that could lead to the undesirable event and their interaction logic.