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Safety is no accident. Contributions to achieving certifiable safe software

19 September 2008

PhD ceremony: E. Kesseler, 14.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Safety is no accident. Contributions to achieving certifiable safe software

Promotor(s): prof. J. Bosch

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences


This thesis theme is achieving safe software, with the safety concerns guiding the information technology research. Ironically, in the perception of the general public, safety is noticed mostly when it is absent, i.e. when an accident with injuries or fatalities occurs. The general public’s acceptance of fatal accidents caused by failures of technical systems is low. To mitigate such failure risks, such systems are designed with several layers of defence against fatal accidents. Accidents only happen when deviations, in rare and unfortunate circumstances, happen to break through all layers of defence. The residual failure rates are very low, characterised as extremely improbable. Such failure rates are too low to observe directly. To provide confidence in the safe behaviour, the systems are certified (by imposing requirements on their realisation processes).

The studied systems are too complex for a single person to fully understand in detail. The incorporated software can influence safety in two opposite ways. Software can impede safety by failing or software can enhance safety by providing appropriate warnings to the users involved. The thesis addresses such topics by studying human-centred system design to enhance safety, especially in complicated situations, certifiable safe software processes to prevent failures and the certification process itself.

 

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.37 p.m.

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