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Formal Guarantees for Safety Critical Code Generation: the Case of Highly Variable Languages

Dieumegard, Arnaud. Formal Guarantees for Safety Critical Code Generation: the Case of Highly Variable Languages. PhD, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2015

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://ethesis.inp-toulouse.fr/archive/00002954/


Control and command softwares play a key role in safety-critical embedded systems used for human related activities such as transportation, healthcare or energy. Their impact on safety makes the assessment of their correctness the central point in their development activities. Such systems verification activities are usually conducted according to normative certification guidelines providing objectives to be reached in order to ensure development process reliability and thus prevent flaws. Verification activities usually relies on tests and proof reading of the software but recent versions of certification guidelines are taking into account the deployment of new development paradigms such as model-based development, and formal methods; or the use of tools in assistance of the development processes. Automatic code generators are used in most safety-critical embedded systems development in order to avoid human related software production errors and to ensure the respect of development quality standards. As these tools are supposed to replace humans in the software code production activities, errors in these tools may result in embedded software flaws. It is thus in turn mandatory to ensure the same level of correctness for the tool itself than for the expected produced code. Tools verification shall be done according to qualification guidelines. We advocate in our work the use of model-based development and formal methods for the development of these tools in order to reach a higher quality level. Critical control and command software are mostly designed using graphical dataflow languages. These languages are used to express complex systems relying on atomic operations embedded in blocks that are gathered in block libraries. Blocks may be sophisticated pieces of software with highly variable structure and semantics. This variability is dependent on the values of the block parameters and of the block's context of use. In our work, we focus on the formal specification and verification of such block based languages. We experimented various techniques in order to ensure a formal, sound, verifiable and usable specification for blocks. We developed a domain specific formal model-based language specifically tailored for the specification of structure and semantics of blocks. This specification language is inspired from software product line concepts in order to ensure a correct and scalable management of the blocks variability. We have applied this specification and verification approach on chosen block examples from common industrial use cases and we have validated it on tool prototypes. Blocks are the core elements of the input language of automatic code generators used for control and command systems development. We show how our blocks formal specification can be translated as code annotations in order to ease and automate the generated code verification. Code annotations are verified using specialised static code analysis tools. Relying on synchronous observers to express high level requirements at the input model level, we show how formal block specification can also be used for the translation of high level requirements as verifiable code annotations discharged using the same specialised tooling. We finally target the assistance of code generation tools qualification activities by arguing on the ability to automatically generate qualification data such as requirements, tests or simulation results for the verification and development of automatic code generators from the formal block specification.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Ait-Ameur, Yamine and Pantel, Marc
Deposited On:15 Sep 2015 21:58

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