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Using Safety Contracts to Guide the Maintenance of Systems and Safety Cases


Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


European Dependable Computing Conference


IEEE Computer Society




Changes to safety-critical systems are inevitable and can impact the safety confidence about a system as their effects can refute articulated claims about safety or challenge the supporting evidence on which this confidence relies. In order to maintain the safety confidence under changes, system developers need to re-analyse and re-verify the system to generate new valid items of evidence. Identifying the effects of a particular change is a crucial step in any change management process as it enables system developers to estimate the required maintenance effort and reduce the cost by avoiding wider analyses and verification than strictly necessary. This paper presents a sensitivity analysis-based technique which aims at measuring the ability of a system to contain a change (i.e., robustness) without the need to make a major re-design. The proposed technique exploits the safety margins in the budgeted failure probabilities of events in a probabilistic fault-tree analysis to compensate for unaccounted deficits or changes due to maintenance. The technique utilises safety contracts to provide prescriptive data for what is needed to be revisited and verified to maintain system safety when changes happen. We demonstrate the technique on an aircraft wheel braking system.


author = {Omar Jaradat and Iain Bate},
title = {Using Safety Contracts to Guide the Maintenance of Systems and Safety Cases},
month = {September},
year = {2017},
booktitle = {European Dependable Computing Conference},
publisher = {IEEE Computer Society },
url = {}