ERCIM News No.25 - April 1996

ERCIM Working Group on Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems

by Diego Latella and Stefania Gnesi

The recently formed ERCIM working group on Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems will bring together researchers of the ERCIM consortium in order to promote the use of formal methods within industry.

Formal Methods has been advocated as a means of increasing the reliability of systems, especially those which are safety or business critical, but the industrial uptake of such methods has been slow. This is mainly due to the perceived difficulty of the mathematical nature of these methods and the lack of tool support.

In the last decade several theories have been developed which aim at coping with the problem of systems correctness by means of formal methodologies for the specification, design and verification of systems. Nevertheless, the use of formal methods in industry is still quite limited. Major reasons for this are apparently the notational difficulty of most formal methods available nowadays and the lack of integration between them. Notational complexity is often a stronger deterrent to the use of formal methods than the advantages of such methods. This is reinforced by the lack of models which support all the activities of system development: For each of the above activities different techniques have been developed independently. They are usually not at all integrated, neither compatible and quite often they have been tried only on toy-examples, leading to results which are rather difficult to compare. In addition, most of the automatic tools developed to support the use of formal methods lack industrial strength and so turn out to be unpractical when used in the industrial context.

The main objectives of the Working Group are: The above objectives will be met by means of: The WG is currently composed by researchers of the following ERCIM Member Institutions: CLRC, CNR, FORTH, GMD, INRIA, SICS. Moreover, some non-ERCIM researchers have also joined the WG.

Research groups of other ERCIM institutes that are interested in joining the working group are requested to contact the chairman named below.

Information on the web:

Please contact: Tel: +39 50 593230 Diego Latella - CNR E-mail:
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