Software Certification – A tricky business

An interesting article was published in Defense News concerning recent issues encountered when certifying the software that drives the TP400 engine used on the A400M military transport plane:

“The problem came from having to demonstrate to the European Aviation Safety Authority traceability through the development cycles.”

The full article can be read here:

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 1, 2009 at 22:10 | Permalink

    Interesting article, however, it along with the lead-in text offered here, perpetuates the errant belief that DO-178B is solely focused on generating a paper trail. I am seeing this view over and over again in my work as a DER. Somehow the product assurance element of DO-178B is being lost in a haze of paper. DO-178B is ALL about correctness by construction. The ‘paperwork’ serves as the objective evidence of the engineering processes used to accomplish that construction process. Lack of traceability through the design ultimately says we don’t know what elements of the design tie to what requirements and whether all requirements have been addressed completely and correctly. Such functional coverage, along with structural coverage, says that all functionality has been verified and no addtional functionality has been incorporated (some of which could be malicious or create a backdoor for malicious attack). While I am all for exploring ways to make DO-178B more flexible with respect to modern SW engineering practice, simply indicting the paperwork is the wrong approach.

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  1. [...] finally time for Lean and Agile Certification/Qualification? By matteo bordin | June 4, 2009 The problems encountered within the AirBus 400M program highlight the importance of deploying an effective infrastructure when developing high-integrity [...]

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