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Using temporal logic to support the specification and prototyping of interactive control systems

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael HarrisonORCiD


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Accidents at Flixborough, Seveso, Bhopal, Three Mile Island, Windscale and Chernobyl have led to increasing concern over the safety and reliability of control systems. Human factors specialists have responded to this concern and have proposed a number of techniques which support the operator of such applications. Unfortunately, this work has not been accompanied by the provision of adequate tools which might enable a designer to carry it beyond the “laboratory bench” and on to the “shop floor”. The following paper exploits formal, mathematically based specification techniques to provide such a tool. Previous weaknesses of abstract specifications are identified and resolved. In particular, they have failed to capture the temporal properties which human factors specialists identify as crucial to the success or failure of interactive control systems. They also provide the non-formalist with an extremely poor impression of what it would be to like to interact with potential implementations. Temporal logic avoids these deficiencies. It can make explicit the sequential information which may be implicit within a design. Executable subsets of this formalization support prototyping and this provides a means of assessing the qualitative “look and feel” of potential implementations. A variety of presentation strategies, including structural decomposition and dialogue cycles, have been specified and incorporated directly into prototypes using temporal logic. Prelog, a tool for the Presentation and REndering of LOGic specifications, has been developed and its implementation is described.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Johnson CW, Harrison MD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Man-Machine Studies

Year: 1992

Volume: 37

Issue: 3

Pages: 357-385

ISSN (print): 1071-5819

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9300

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/0020-7373(92)90059-T


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