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Is current incremental safety assurance sound?

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Incremental design is an essential part of engineering. Without it, engineering would not likely be an economic, nor an effective, aid to economic progress. Further, engineering relies on this view of incrementality to retain the reliability attributes of the engineering method. When considering the assurance of safety for such artifacts, it is not surprising that the same economic and reliability arguments are deployed to justify an incremental approach to safety assurance. In a sense, it is possible to argue that, with engineering artifacts becoming more and more complex, it would be economically disastrous to not “do” safety incrementally. Indeed, many enterprises use such an incremental approach, reusing safety artifacts when assuring incremental design changes. In this work, we make some observations about the inadequacy of this trend and suggest that safety practices must be rethought if incremental safety approaches are ever going to be fit for purpose. We present some examples to justify our position and comment on what a more adequate approach to incremental safety assurance may look like.




Cassano, V., Grigorova, S., Singh, N. K., Adedjouma, M., Lawford, M., Maibaum, T. S. E., & Wassyng, A. (2015). Is current incremental safety assurance sound? In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 9338, pp. 397–408). Springer Verlag.

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