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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/J58619/01
Title: COMMUNICATION IN SAFTEY CASES - A SEMANTIC APPROACH
Principal Investigator: Anderson, Professor S
Other Investigators:
MacKenzie, Professor D Stenning, Professor K Robertson, Professor D
Cleland, Dr G Cleland, Dr G Inder, Dr R
Bundy, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Informatics
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 July 1993 Ends: 31 December 1996 Value (£): 604,834
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Information Technologies
Transport Systems and Vehicles R&D
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
To improve safety systems engineering through:1. an analysis of failures in communication in safety-critical projects and how standards embody such potential for failure2. the provision of semantic techniques which help to assure agreement on the significance of evidence and the study of their effects on the interpretation and construction of safety standards3. the development of improved techniques and tools for safety analysis and the study of how these might be integrated into standards and how they contribute towards a safety case.Progress:Grouped under the above objectives, key points of our work to date are summarised below. 1. We have carried out a study of computer related accidental death and have scoped and identified some problem areas and potential future problems. As designs are maintained in operation they tend to drift from conformance with guidelines. By linking the design and the schematic elements to the constraints in the guideline we can maintain agreement between maintainer, design intention and guideline. This has been carried out in association with Shell Expro using their design guidelines for ESD systems. Analysis of failure in the use of a design notation in work carried out by AEA Technology has identified interesting disagreement in the interpretation of a diagrammatic design notation. 2. We have analysed and formally modelled some generic safety architectures. This has identified a variety of assumptions which are required for such architectures to be effective and provides reusable analysis of the architectures. The motivation for this work is the IRR generic safety competition and PLC architectures. We have studied the interpretation of diagrammatic design notation and have identified a number of different types of diagram. These types are characterised by the extent to which they use geometric or topological features to carry meaning. This general work has led to some specific attempts to redesign the use of diagrams used in the CCS models. We have completed a semantic analysis of parts of the IEC 1131-3 PLC programming language. This has clarified a number of issues, including the interaction of timing at different programming levels. This work has been done collaboratively with Adelard. 3. We are exploring the use of abduction in detecting, correcting and isolating faults in system specifications. Omitted or erroneous assumptions are a rich source of failure this technique appears to help provide assistance in detecting such assumptions. We have provided a logical analysis of fault trees and have provided a number of modal and temporal logic interpretations which appear to capture interpretations which are in use (often in the same project).
Key Findings
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