Software as a component in safety-critical systems professional development leave report

James Vallino


The theme for my professional development leave was to consider software usage within safety- critical systems. Computer processors across a range of sizes are commonly embedded within devices and systems. When these are safety-critical devices, the software running on those embedded processors often performs safety-related functions. The safety requirements of these systems necessitate design considerations for the overall system and the software embedded within it that are beyond what the software engineer must consider for standard desktop applications. In the real-time and embedded systems courses that I teach, I discuss safety-critical systems and the constraints imposed by the safety requirements. I used my professional development leave to gain experience working with groups dealing with software in safety- critical systems. With this experience, I became better prepared for the classroom discussions of safety-critical systems. Working in this area also provided contacts for future collaboration on scholarship activities.