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Choosing Effective Methods for Design Diversity - How to Progress from Intuition to Science

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander RomanovskyORCiD



Design diversity is a popular defence against design faults in safety critical systems. Design diversity is at times pursued by simply isolating the development teams of the different versions, but there are good reasons to believe that it is better to "force" diversity, by appropriate prescriptions to the teams. There are many ways of forcing diversity. The literature, including standards and guidelines, includes lists of such ways at the disposal of a project manager, e.g. dictating different algorithms, different programming or specification languages, etc. Yet, managers who have to choose a cost-effective combination of these have little guidance except their own intuition. Unfortunately, intuition has often proven wrong when dealing with diversity. We argue the need for more scientifically based recommendations, and outline the problems with producing them. We focus on what we think is the standard basis for most recommendations: the belief that project decisions should be aimed at causing "diversity" among the faults of the various versions, and that this diversity will in turn decrease the risk of the versions failing together. We attempt to clarify what these beliefs mean, in which cases they may be justified and how they can be checked or disproved experimentally.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Popov P, Romanovsky A, Strigini L

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Department of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 1999

Pages: 12

Report Number: 666

Institution: Department of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne