Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Only available to MEng Software Engineering Students.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 tutorials, 10 group meetings with supervisor


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Project Report  80%
Semester Assessment Group Presentation  20%
Supplementary Assessment Because of the group nature of the project, supplementary assessment is not possible 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate increased awareness of issues of software quality and correctness and the consequences for development cost and timescale.

2. Have gained practical experience of working to the methodologies and standards used for the development of high integrity systems in industry.

3 Understand and be able to analyze the issues of working in a group where software integrity is paramount.

4. Demonstrate increased awareness of organisational and management skills.

5. Demonstrate the ability to provide a critical evaluation of their performance.

Brief description

This module covers issues of system integrity and dependability and the consequences for development of safety-related computer systems. In addition to formal seminars based on directed reading, there is a group design project. This requires students to analyse a safety-critical scenario and then produce a design and safety case for a computer system of an appropriate level of integrity. In the project students will select suitable methods and techniques in accordance with international standards and established practice.


Formal teaching - 10 seminars

1. Week 1 Introduction. Computers in critical applications, safety concepts, safety requirements.

2. Week 2

Techniques for hazard analysis. Risk analysis and classification. Integrity levels.

3. Week 3

The safety lifecycle. Introduction to techniques for achieving safe systems.

4. Week 4

Fault tolerance

5. Week 5

System reliability: modelling, prediction, assessment. Selection of microprocessors. Design faults in microprocessors.

6. Week 6

Safety-critical software: languages, implementation, tools.

7. Week 7

Implications of the use of PLCs in critical systems. The role of formal methods in critical systems.

8. Week 8

Verification, validation and testing.

9. Week 9

Quality management. Certification.

10. Week 10

Introduction to Group Project

Written material.

Various written material giving guidance on carrying out the project, assessment issues, and the project submission is provided by the department.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number No
Communication Through group working and presentation.
Improving own Learning and Performance The assessed coursework requires students to develop their understanding of safety-critical issues.
Information Technology The module is IT focused.
Personal Development and Career planning No
Problem solving Through designing a solution to a complex safety-critical problem.
Research skills Students will be required to acquire further knowledge from books and on-line sources
Subject Specific Skills Methodological skills, design skills, programming skills
Team work Key to the project..

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Neil Storey (1995) Safety-Critical Systems Addison Wesley Primo search
Consult For Futher Information
P. Bennett (editor) (1993) Safety Aspects of Computer Control Butterworth Heinemann Primo search
Recommended Background
Alan Burns and Andy Wellings (2001) Real-time Systems and their Programming Languages 3 Addison Wesley Primo search Nancy G. Leveson (1995) Safeware: System Safety and Computers Addison Wesley Primo search Peter G. Neumann (1995) Computer Related Risks Addison Wesley Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7