Teaching Formal Methods (Paperback)

Colognet/Fme Symposium, Tfm 2004, Ghent, Belgium, November 18-19, 2004. Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science #3294)

By C. Neville Dean (Editor), Raymond T. Boute (Editor)

Springer, 9783540236115, 252pp.

Publication Date: November 17, 2004

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"Professional engineers can often be distinguished from other designers by the engineers' ability to use mathematical models to describe and 1 analyze their products." This observation by Parnas describes the de facto professional standards in all classical engineering disciplines (civil, mechanical, electrical, etc.). Unf- tunately, it is in sharp contrast with current (industrial) practice in software design, where mathematical models are hardly used at all, even by those who, 2 in Holloway's words "aspire to be engineers." The rare exceptions are certain critical applications, where mathematical techniques are used under the general name formal methods. Yet, thesamecharacteristicsthatmakeformalmethodsanecessityincritical applicationsmakethemalsoadvantageousineverydaysoftwaredesignatvarious levels from design e?ciency to software quality. Why, then, is education failing with respect to formal methods? - failing to convince students, academics and practitioners alike that formal methods are truly pragmatic; - failing to overcome a phobia of formality and mathematics; - failing to provide students with the basic skills and understanding required toadoptamoremathematicalandlogicalapproachtosoftwaredevelopment. Until education takes these failings seriously, formal methods will be an obscure byway in software engineering, which in turn will remain severely impoverished as a result.