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Variability management in safety-critical systems design and dependability analysis

de Oliveira, André Luiz; Braga, Rosana; Masiero, Paulo; Parker, David; Papadopoulos, Yiannis; Habli, Ibrahim; Kelly, Tim


André Luiz de Oliveira

Rosana Braga

Paulo Masiero

Ibrahim Habli

Tim Kelly


Safety-critical systems are of paramount importance for many application domains, where safety properties are a key driver to engineer critical aspects and avoid system failures. For the benefits of large-scale reuse, software product lines (SPL) have been adopted in critical systems industry. However, the integration of safety analysis in the SPL development process is nontrivial. Also, the different usage contexts of safety-critical systems complicates component fault modeling tasks and the identification of potential hazards. In this light, better methods become necessary to estimate the impact of dependability properties during Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment. Existing methods incorporating the analysis of safety properties in SPL are limited as they do not include hazard analysis and component fault modeling. In this paper, we present the novel DEPendable Software Product Line Engineering (DEPendable-SPLE) approach, which extends traditional SPL processes to support the reuse of safety assets. We also present a detailed analysis of the impact of product and context features on the SPL design, safety analysis, and safety requirements. We applied DEPendable-SPLE to a realistic case study from the aerospace domain to illustrate how to model and reuse safety properties. DEPendable-SPLE reduced the effort of safety analysis for certifying system variants.


de Oliveira, A. L., Braga, R., Masiero, P., Parker, D., Papadopoulos, Y., Habli, I., & Kelly, T. (2019). Variability management in safety-critical systems design and dependability analysis. Journal of software : evolution and process, 31(8), Article e2202.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2019
Publication Date Aug 20, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 5, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Journal of Software: Evolution and Process
Electronic ISSN 2047-7481
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 8
Article Number e2202
Keywords Safety-critical systems; dependability analysis; safety; reuse; software product lines
Public URL
Publisher URL


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