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Balancing Insight and Effort: the Industrial Uptake of Formal Methods

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



This paper is a contribution to the Festschrift marking the 70th birthdays of Prof. Dines Bjoerner and Prof. Zhou Chaochen. Our goal is to help the developers of computer-based systems to make informed design decisions on the basis of insights gained from the rigorous analysis of abstract system models. The early work on model-oriented specification has inspired the development of numerous formalisms and tools supporting modelling and analysis. There are also many stories of successful industrial application, often driven by a few champions possessing deep a priori understanding of formalisms. There are fewer cases of successful take-up or adoption of the technology in the long term.We argue that successful industrial adoption of this technology requires that potential users strike a balance between the effort expended in producing and analysing a model and insight gained. In order to support this balancing act, tools need to offer a range of levels of effort and insight. Further, educators need to recognise that training in formal development techniques must support this trade-off process.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fitzgerald JS, Larsen PG

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2007

Pages: 21

Print publication date: 01/06/2007

Source Publication Date: June 2007

Report Number: 1031

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

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne