Users of systems, both ordinary and sophisticated, see a larger percentage of system function being controlled by devices containing software. These devices most often operate as intended, but sometimes contribute to accidents or adversely affect safety-critical functions. To minimize and control hazards in safety-critical systems, hardware system safety engineering practices must be rigorously applied to software development. Good engineering practice is as applicable to software engineering as it is to the other portions of a system, but application to the special characteristics of software is seldom done adequately.
At our December meeting, John Cosgrove (PE, CDP, Consulting Engineer) will discuss safety-critical software development. His talk will be a short version of a course he gave at the most recent Wescon. It includes the reasons for the growth of software in safety-critical systems, an examination of "lessons learned", a method to identify safety-related software requirements at an early stage, and some promising new developments.