Module Identifier SEM3120  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Mark B Ratcliffe  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Mr Jem Rowland  
Pre-Requisite Qualification for entry to final year M.Eng., CS33110  
Course delivery Lecture   0  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 tutorials, 10 group meetings with supervisor  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
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 - 11 tutorials

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

Case studies of real systems.

11. Week 11

The DO 178B standard (airborne software).

Written material.

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

Reading Lists

Neil Storey (1995) Safety-Critical Systems Addison Wesley 0-201-42787-7
Alan Burns and Andy Wellings (2001) Real-time Systems and their Programming Languages 3. Addison Wesley 0-201-72988-1
Nancy G. Leveson (1995) Safeware: System Safety and Computers Addison Wesley 0-201-11972-2
Peter G. Neumann (1995) Computer Related Risks Addison Wesley 0-201-55805-X
P. Bennett (editor) (1993) Safety Aspects of Computer Control Butterworth Heinemann 0-7506-1102-2


This module is at CQFW Level 7