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Formal Techniques in the Safety Analysis of Software Components of a new Dialysis Machine

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael HarrisonORCiD, Dr Leo Freitas, Dr Michael DrinnanORCiD, Costanzo Di Maria



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The paper is concerned with the practical use of formal techniques to contribute to the risk analysis of a new neonatal dialysis machine. The described formal analysis focuses on the controller component of the software implementation. The controller drives the dialysis cycle and deals with error management. The logic was analysed using model checking techniques and the source code was analysed formally, checking type correctness conditions, use of pointers and shared memory. The analysis provided evidence of the verification of risk control measures relating to the software component. The productive dialogue between the developers of the device, who had no experience or knowledge of formal methods, and the analyst using the formal analysis tools, provided a basis for the development of rationale for the effectiveness of the evidence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harrison MD, Freitas L, Drinnan M, Campos JC, Masci P, Di Maria C, Whitaker M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science of Computer Programming

Year: 2019

Volume: 175

Pages: 17-34

Print publication date: 15/04/2019

Online publication date: 12/02/2019

Acceptance date: 07/02/2019

Date deposited: 15/01/2019

ISSN (print): 0167-6423

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7964

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.scico.2019.02.003


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