On Thursday and Friday, I read through a 1997 paper comparing Z and VDM. This is kind of an interesting thing to do because they are probably the two most widely used and recognized formal methods. I don't know much about VDM, but apparently the underlying principles of it are not all that terribly different from Z. In addition to the general discussion, the author compared tool support for the two methods (which seems somewhat limited in both cases) and tried to compare the results seen in projects using them. However, he only chose to compare CICS and CDIS, i.e. just two data points, which is not especially useful.
Yesterday and today (I didn't accomplish anything on Saturday), I just spent a little time trying to outline a concrete plan to procede from here. By now I have a pretty good idea of what material I have, so now I'm trying to figure out what I need to get in terms of research and what I can do with what I already have. In particular, I need to start picking out some case studies and analyzing the results. However, first I want to find some more commercially-oriented cases to look at. The international survey had a few, but pretty much everything else is a safety- or security-critical project.
So I'm going to spend the next couple of days trying to plan a direction for the remainder of my research and, hopefully, hunting for some sources. That should allow me to be a little more productive from here on out. It will also give me a nice break from the constant reading. I swear, I can only read so many journal articles before my brain starts to turn to mush. I've really been running out of steam on that front the past couple of weeks.
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