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Ten Truths about Building Safe Embedded Software Systems

December 2012
8 pages
Ten Truths about Building Safe Embedded Software Systems

Obtaining safety certifications and approvals for safety-related systems and the larger systems, devices, components, machinery, and vehicles in which they reside is an arduous and costly undertaking. If the projects developing these systems are to be successful, manufacturers must look beyond the strictly technical challenges, and focus also on the environment and culture needed to develop safe software systems.


1. A safety culture — 2. Experts — 3. Processes — 4. Explicit claims — 5. System failures — 6. Validation — 7. COTS and SOUP — 8. Certified components and their vendors — 9. Auditors — 10. It doesn’t end with the product release — Conclusion [+]

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Chris Hobbs

Chris Hobbs

Chris Hobbs is a kernel developer at QNX, specializing in "sufficiently-available" software: software created with the minimum development effort to meet the availability and reliability needs of the customer; and in producing safe software (in conformance with IEC61508 SIL3). He is also a specialist in WBEM/CIM device, network and service management, and the author of A Practical Approach to WBEM/CIM Management (2004).

In addition to his software development work, Chris is a flying instructor, a singer with a particular interest in Schubert's Lieder, and the author of several books, including Learning to Fly in Canada (2000) and The Largest Number Smaller than Five (2007). His blog, Software Musings, focuses "primarily on software and analytical philosophy".

Chris Hobbs earned a B.Sc., Honours in Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Philosophy at the University of London's Queen Mary and Westfield College.

Yi Zheng

Yi Zheng

Yi Zheng is the product manager responsible for the safety product certified to IEC 61508 SIL3 and security product certified to Common Criteria EAL4+ at QNX Software Systems. She also manages the QNX Neutrino RTOS and the QNX Momentics tool suite.

Prior to joining QNX, Yi worked at Entrust Technologies, Autodesk and Nortel Networks, designing a wide range of software applications. She holds a Bachelor's in Computer Science from Carleton University, a Master's in Business Administration from Queen’s University, and is a Certified Management Accountant.

See Also...

Fault Tree Analysis with Bayesian Belief Networks for Safety-Critical Software

Protecting Applications Against Heisenbugs

Using an IEC 61508-Certified RTOS Kernel for Safety-Critical Systems

Building Functional Safety into Complex Software Systems, Part I

Building Functional Safety into Complex Software Systems, Part II

Meeting Security Certification Requirements with Certicom and QNX

Clear SOUP and COTS Software for Medical Device Development

Which OS for IEC 62304 Medical Systems?

Choosing an OS for Embedded Train Control Systems

Using Dynamic Software Analysis to Support Medical Device Approval

Other whitepaper topics: Recent, Automotive, German Whitepapers, HMI + Graphics, Industrial, Medical, Multimedia + Acoustics, Networking, Operating Systems, Security + Defense, Safe Systems, Tools