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Accidental Systems, Hidden Assumptions and Safety Assurance

Martyn Thomas, Martyn Thomas Associates Limited London, UK

From: Safety-critical Systems Symposium, 07 February 2012, Bristol

07 February 2012  Manufacturing channel

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About the presentation

The 20th annual Safety-critical Systems Symposium, including topics such as goal-based safety standards, safety and cyber defence, bayesian belief networks for dependability cases, developing and validating safety critical software, railway safety decision making, EMC for functional safety and safety of unmanned aerial systems.
Organised by the Safety Critical Systems Club, supported by the BCS and the IET.
In April, the Royal Academy of Engineering published the final report of a study into the world's increasing dependence on GPS and other global navigation satellite systems and the consequent vulnerabilities. The report, Global Navigation Space Systems, describes how GPS has been so useful and so reliable that a remarkably wide range of applications, ranging from financial trading to deep sea drilling, now depend on these extremely weak signals from space. As a consequence, if the GPS signals are disrupted or spoofed, many services that might be thought to be independent may fail simultaneously. Primary and backup systems may both be affected. In this paper, we explain some of the vulnerabilities in GPS and other GNSS and draw some conclusions about accidental systems, hidden assumptions and safety assurance.

About the speaker

Martyn founded Praxis in 1983, spent 5 years as a partner in Deloitte Consulting, and is now an independent expert witness and nonexecutive director. He represents Computing on the Engineering Policy Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering and chairs the IT Policy Panel for the IET. He is Visiting Professor at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol. He has received honorary doctorates from Edinburgh and Hull and City University, London, and was awarded a CBE for services to software engineering in 2007.

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