AuthorsS. Nejati, M. Sabetzadeh, D. Falessi, L. C. Briand and T. Coq
TitleA SysML-Based Approach to Traceability Management and Design Slicing in Support of Safety Certification: Framework, Tool Support, and Case Studies
AfilliationSoftware Engineering
Project(s)The Certus Centre (SFI)
Publication TypeTechnical reports
Year of Publication2011
Date PublishedJanuary
PublisherSimula Research Laboratory

Context: Traceability is one of the basic tenets of all software safety standards and a key prerequisite for certification of software. Despite this, the safety-critical software industry is still suffering from a chronic lack of guidelines on traceability. An acute traceability problem that we have identified through observing software safety certification processes has to do with the link between safety requirements and software design. In the current state of practice, this link often lacks sufficient detail to support the systematic inspections conducted by the certifiers of the software safety documentation. As a result, the suppliers often have to remedy the traceability gaps after the fact which can be very expensive and the outcome often is far from satisfactory. Objective: The objective of this article is developing a framework to enable systematic and efficient software design inspections during safety certification. In particular, the framework enables safety engineers and certifiers to extract design slices (model fragments) that filter out irrelevant details but keep enough context information for the slices to be easy to inspect and understand. This helps reduce cognitive load and thus makes it less likely that serious safety issues would be overlooked. Method: Our framework is grounded on SysML which is rapidly becoming the notation of choice for developing safety-critical systems. The framework includes a traceability information model, a methodology to establish traceability, and mechanisms to use traceability for extracting slices of models relevant to a particular safety requirement. The framework is implemented in a tool, named SafeSlice, that supports establishing the traceability links envisaged by the methodology, automated consistency checking of these links, and automated generation of SysML design slices. Results: We provide a formal proof that our slicing algorithm is sound for temporal safety properties, and argue about the completeness of the slices based on our practical experience. We report on the lessons learned from applying our approach to two case studies, one benchmark case and one industrial case. Both case studies indicate that our approach offers benefits by substantially reducing the amount of information that needs to be inspected in order to ensure that a given safety requirement is met by the design.

Citation KeySimula.simula.193