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Formal Methods: Practice and Experience

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Larsen, Professor John Fitzgerald


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Formal methods use mathematical models for analysis and verification at any part of the program life-cycle. We describe the state of the art in the industrial use of formal methods, concentrating on their increasing use at the earlier stages of specification and design. We do this by reporting on a new survey of industrial use, comparing the situation in 2009 with the most significant surveys carried out over the last 20 years. We describe some of the highlights of our survey by presenting a series of industrial projects, and we draw some observations from these surveys and records of experience. Based on this, we discuss the issues surrounding the industrial adoption of formal methods. Finally, we look to the future and describe the development of a Verified Software Repository, part of the worldwide Verified Software Initiative. We introduce the initial projects being used to populate the repository, and describe the challenges they address.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Woodcock J, Larsen PG, Bicarregui J, Fitzgerald J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ACM Computing Surveys

Year: 2009

Volume: 41

Issue: 4

Pages: 1-36

ISSN (print): 0360-0300

ISSN (electronic): 1557-7341

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/1592434.1592436

Notes: Article no. 19.


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