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Improved processes for the development of dependable systems

Newcastle University’s work, starting from the mid-nineties, has led to improved analysis of systems models, allowing companies in several sectors to boost cost-effectiveness and defect detection.

Its research into formal methods for the design of computing systems has had an impact across the world, has been embraced by an enthusiastic community of users, who have built new support tools and plug-ins based on formal methods techniques explored at the university..

Improving business processes

Many industrial sectors depend on computer applications. However, the high cost of designing systems that are justifiably trustworthy can limit the range of alternative designs explored.

Newcastle’s research has helped organisations to evaluate a range of potential designs, and reject unsuitable options before major investment is made in prototypes or implementation.

Multiple applications

Tools such as VDMToolsOverture and Rodin have made their mark in the business, education and developer communities. VDMTools was used to develop firmware for the Mobile FeliCa chip, which allows mobile phones to be used as contactless swipe cards. By 2012, the chip was in more than 200 million phones worldwide.

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The companies SysterelClearSy and Siemens have all used technologies from the Rodin family, notably the model-checker ProB, to validate large data sets in the railway industry, developing metro lines and airport shuttles.

VDMTools is used in the “Top SE” programme in Japan, which aims to close the gap between academia and industry in advanced software technology. In addition, features of Rodin have been integrated into developer kits created by world-leading enterprise software firm SAP.

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