Back to the IFM

Boy, I'm falling behind. I was hoping to make a lot more traction this weekend.

Today, I went back to the IFM92 survey. I finished off the last proper section of the first volume, with the conclusions and lessons learned. After reading the rest of it, there aren't really any surprises in this section. Among the observations were that there's a lack of good tools, including more "middle of the road" tools (i.e. most of the existing ones were huge suites or tiny research projects), that we lack a good cost-benefit analysis method for FM projects, and that most people don't choose to use FM because of the cost benefits.

Another interesting observation was that conventional measurements can fail to capture the scope of some of these projects. For instance, lines of code, which is often used to judge the scope of software projects, fails to capture things like safety concerns or complexity of the problem. A couple thousand lines of code doesn't seem like a lot, but safety or security concerns can add a lot to the analysis and validation of a project, thus increasing the scope disproportionately with the amount of code.

I also started reading the appendix on the formal methods used in the various projects. So far, I only got through SCR, B, and Cleanroom. Nothing terribly interesting the brief summaries of them, but I'll probably revisit them if they come up in other case studies.

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