I'll be off the net more or less for the next three weeks. I hope the world of computer-related activities becomes very peaceful and uneventful, so that we don't miss anything. Please keep sending in your goodies, however, and we'll get to them eventually. Please check out the advance information on SIGSOFT '91, SOFTWARE FOR CRITICAL SYSTEMS, 4-6 December 1991, in New Orleans, included as the last item in this issue. This conference will be of unusually high relevance to the RISKS community. PGN
I recently noted that the Japanese are aggressively developing a generation of huge, totally unmanned, computer-guided supertankers intended to embark/debark, as well as transit the oceans, in fully automated mode. The risks, based on fly/drive by wire research, of having these vessels transiting the oceans unmanned seems significant. Any supertankers is a significant hazard to navigation by smaller vessels, which are notorious for not being particularly easy to spot on radar. The risk of possible environmental disasters, e.g. Exxon Valdez, exists for all supertankers. Running unmanned, IMHO, exacerbates the situation. The risk of possible terrorism involving a large, relatively slow-moving, completely exposed, unmanned ship, carrying a potentially hazardous cargo through the strategic shipping lanes of the world probably should not be ignored. W. K. (Bill) Gorman
Considerable controversy developed during the past year regarding the site selection for a third airport within the Chicago metropolitan area. Once in place the projected number of planes using the airport would exceed the current traffic at O'Hare Field, one of the world's busiest airports. A number of sites have been proposed: 1) an area on the southeast side of Chicago called the Lake Calumet site; 2) an area on the western side of Gary, Indiana and 3) two other "green grass" sites that are located approximately 35 miles south of Chicago. Richard M. Daley, the mayor of Chicago, has been promoting the Lake Calumet site for over a year. A number of politicians within Gary, Indiana and downstate Indiana have been promoting the Gary site. Both the Lake Calumet and Gary locations are in open land adjacent to some heavily populated areas. Both the Lake Calumet and Gary sites would require massive condemnation of homes in the southeast side of Chicago and in Gary, Indiana. How does this relate to RISKS? I see two possible links. The first is the obvious "rare event." Planes tend to crash near airports. For example in May, 1979 a DC-10 crashed shortly after takeoff killing 275 people. The areas adjacent to the Lake Calumet and Gary sites are heavily populated. Moreover, an oil refinery is within 3 miles of the Lake Calumet site and several steel mills are adjacent to the Gary site. The idea of a DC-10 colliding with an oil refinery is admittedly a rare event. The consultants and politicians promoting the Lake Calumet and Gary sites have dismissed such possibilities with little discussion. Second, the site location for this third airport is based on a series of computer projections performed by outside consultants hired to provide information on needed runway size, number of passengers and the overall economic impact of the facility. Northwest Indiana and the southeast side of Chicago underwent substantial deindustrialization starting in the 1960's and accelerating in the 1980's. Computer models have projected a payroll of $2.7 billion, for the Gary airport and an overall economic benefit of $5.7 billion by the year 2020. These data are being pushed as "fact" (it must be true, it came from a computer). Also, heavily emphasized are estimates of 150,000 to 300,000 jobs that would be created in conjunction with the airport. Work on the noise contours associated with the runway configuration for these two airport sites have been delayed. Also delayed is the projected out-migration of residents from the area. The entire site selection process is an example of a consulting firm with a PC running amok with projected statistics and estimates. In some cases the media are directly fed the projections with little questioning. The fact that these data were created by a computer simulation or projection is not taken into account. Nor is there any questioning of the type of mathematical model that is being used to generate this data. Geographic and cartographic software used to map the proposed airport sites has failed to take into account the topography of the land and the number of businesses affected. Massive wetland drainage would be required for the Lake Calumet site. Also, the consultants failed to take into account the substantial migratory bird population (birds and airplanes don't mix) and weather associated with the Lake Calumet and Gary sites (both sites would start near the shore of Lake Michigan and head south). The chairman of the bistate selection committee for the third airport Frank Luersen (CEO for Inland Steel) was forced to resign after the consultants recommended the closure of Cline Avenue (a major divided highway in northwest Indiana) and the closure of the Inland Steel Research Lab. Somewhat embarrassed, the consultants returned with a new runway configuration that allowed Cline Avenue and Inland Steel to remain, but on land immediately adjacent to the Gary airport site. William E. Mihalo email@example.com
In the RISKS DIGEST 12.08, PGN contributed the article "Human Error Blamed for Soviet N-Plant Problems". In the recently translated and published book on the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet nuclear engineer/scientist Medvedev reported on the root causes, which were, basically, human error. It should be no surprise that, in spite of Glasnost, the fundamental flaws in the system have not been addressed. (I regret I do not have a better reference for Medvedev's book at hand. It is excellent.) Thomas P. Blinn, Digital Equipment Corporation, Digital Drive — MKO2-2/F10, Merrimack, New Hampshire 03054 ...!decwrl!dr.enet.dec.com!blinn (603) 884-4865
Henry Spencer writes that the Air Force's new F-22 has no mechanical backup instruments --- making the flight software extremely flight-critical. However, on new "fly-by-wire" aircraft, a computer failure would also deactivate all of the aircraft's control surfaces, since the pilot's stick is really nothing more than a joystick on these planes. In the event of a computer failure, the only good that mechanical backup instruments would do would be to let the pilot watch the altitude ticking off on the way down...
I do not read the text of the NJ legislation posted here as requiring the licensing of programmers. Rather it recognizes the existence of a special class of programmer. It only requires licensing of those who offer themselves for hire as software ENGINEERS. Hire and engineer are both key words. I am a "once and sometime programmer." I have not been employed in that capacity for years. Since I do not offer myself for hire in that capacity, I would not require a license. Even if I were to take a job as an entry-level programmer [a job for which I am at one and the same time both over and under qualified] I would not need to be licensed under this legislation, since I do not offer myself for hire as an engineer. I would be a programmer, not an engineer. [Nancy L. is a software engineer. Padgett P. is an engineer. I am a mere software author.] I would be making no special claims about my qualifications. It is the special claim of engineer that would subject me to this legislation, not software alone. Now, while I suspect that this law may be a little premature, past discussions in this list suggest that mere programmers, such as myself, are making decisions for which we are not qualified. The result is as much to put the public at hazard as if I were to undertake to build a bridge. I did, once program at the Louisiana Department of Highways. Some of the work that I did influenced the construction of roads and bridges, but it was done under the supervision of licensed civil engineers, experienced in building roads and bridges. Soon we will have "smart" roads and bridges in which computer hardware and software will be active components of the roads and bridges. The ability to write the software for those roads and bridges does not necessarily, include the ability to write the specification. It clearly does not include the ability to decide upon the role of the computer or software in the road. This requires special competence which I am not even qualified to judge [but which I would trust Nancy and Padgett to judge.] Note that the NJ legislature does not attempt to define these qualifications or to describe them. Rather, it leaves that to those who would so hold themselves. This is similar to what it does with other professions. It is not clear whether or not programming is a profession or not. It is clear that most of the people who engage in it, even some of those who do it for a living, would not qualify under any reasonable definition of professional. It is equally clear that there is a requirement for a group of professionals, trained in the lore and traditions of engineering, not "computer science" who can make decisions about how software is to be designed, built, and used. I know some of the people who do it; they are professional in a sense that some programmers cannot even understand. I do not trust the NJ legislature to rcognize these people. I concur in the NJ legislatures recognition that they can and should have the discretion to recognize their peers and exclude others. It is in the public interest that they do so. That programmers, without the qualifications of these few, should feel threatened by this is natural and to be expected. However, I do not believe their fears to be justified. William Hugh Murray, Executive Consultant, Information System Security 21 Locust Avenue, Suite 2D, New Canaan, Connecticut 06840 203 966 4769
One fundamental problem is that we are still learning what software engineering entails. Is a Hypercard programmer a software engineer? A spreadsheet macro writer. What about a VCR programmer? Essentially any control of a system that can remember instructions is programming and thus involves software engineering. I realize that the model the legislature has in mind is a Civil Engineer or a Licensed Bridgebuilder (it is fun to revisit old examples), and that it looks in horror at amateur mistakes being made in building critical systems. But world is changing from engineering final systems to creating refineable systems and thus propagating the empowerment of programming out to the end user and making us all (Unlicensed) Software Engineers. I greatly fear any attempt to codify what is not understood. Note that there has been a certification process available (CDP) for a long time. Does anyone pay attention to it? Actually, there may be a good side to this. From the proposed act: 9. (New section) No person shall practice, or present himself as able to practice, software 1[engineering] _________1 unless he possesses a valid license as a software 1[engineer] ________1 in accordance with the provision of this act. I guess we won't have to deal with nonprofessionals attempting to program their VCRs.
ACM SIGSOFT: '91 SOFTWARE FOR CRITICAL SYSTEMS 4-6 December 1991, Fairmont Hotel, New Orleans PRELIMINARY PROGRAM Computer systems are increasingly affecting nearly every aspect of our lives. They control aircraft, shut down nuclear power reactors in emergencies, keep our telephone systems running, monitor hospital patients, and execute financial transactions. Although such systems offer considerable benefits, they also pose serious risks in that we are increasingly vulnerable to flaws and other deficiencies in the software, hardware failures, and effects of accidental and intentional computer misuse. WEDNESDAY, 4 DECEMBER 1991 Welcome and Introduction: 8:45am - 9:00 Mark Moriconi, SIGSOFT '91 Chair (SRI International) Peter G. Neumann, Program Co-chair (SRI International) Session 1: 9:00 - 10:15, Carl Landwehr, Chair FORMAL VERIFICATION OF ALGORITHMS FOR CRITICAL SYSTEMS John Rushby (SRI International), Friedrich von Henke (University of Ulm) STATE-BASED MODEL CHECKING OF EVENT-DRIVEN SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS, Joanne M. Atlee and John Gannon (University of Maryland) Discussion Session 2: 10:45 - 12:30, Dines Bj/orner, Chair RIGOROUS DEVELOPMENT USING RAISE, Bent Dandanell (CRI, Birker/od, Denmark) SPECIFYING AND VERIFYING REQUIREMENTS OF REAL-TIME SYSTEMS K.M. Jensen, A.P. Ravn, and Hans Rischel (Tech. University of Denmark) A SYSTEMATIC KERNEL DEVELOPMENT J.F. S/ogaard-Andersen, C.O. Rump and H.H. Lovengreen (Tech. Univ. Denmark) Discussion Luncheon: 12:30 - 2:00 Session 3: 2:00 - 3:45, Elaine Weyuker, Chair THE INFEASIBILITY OF EXPERIMENTAL QUANTIFICATION OF LIFE-CRITICAL SOFTWARE RELIABILITY Ricky Butler and George Finelli (NASA Langley Research Center) PANEL: ARE THERE ABSOLUTE LIMITS TO SOFTWARE VALIDATION? Elaine Weyuker (NYU Courant Institute) Bev Littlewood (City University, London) David Parnas (McMaster University) Ricky Butler (NASA Langley Research Center) John Musa (AT&T Bell Labs, Whippany, NJ) (unconfirmed) The Butler/Finelli paper argues that ultra-high reliability cannot be validated directly with testing alone, nor by the use of fault-tolerance. What are the implications? Session 4: 4:15 - 5:30, Martyn Thomas, Chair PANEL: THE CONFUSED WORLD OF STANDARDS FOR CRITICAL SYSTEM Martyn Thomas (Praxis, plc) Robin Bloomfield (ADELARD) (unconfirmed) Peter Neumann (SRI International) Mike DeWalt (FAA) Anticipated topics include British MoD DEFSTAN 00-55/56 and various security criteria (e.g., TCSEC, ITSEC, CTCPEC). What role should such standards play? What should be mandated regarding requirements, specifications, criteria, methodologies, tools, and certification of developers? THURSDAY, 5 DECEMBER 1991 Session 5: 9:00am - 10:30, Bill Howden, Chair COMPARING FAULT DETECTING ABILITY OF TESTING METHODS P.G. Frankl (Polytechnic University), E.J. Weyuker (NYU Courant Institute) AN EXCEPTION HANDLING MODEL FOR PARALLEL PROGRAMMING AND ITS VERIFICATION Valerie Issarny (IRISA/INRIA) Discussion Session 6: 11:00 - 12:30, Invitational Talk HUMAN ERROR IN DESIGN Henry Petroski (Duke University), author of the books ``To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design,'' and ``Pencil'' Luncheon: 12:30 - 2:00 Session 7: 2:00 - 3:30, Victoria Stavridou, Chair A REAL-TIME TRANSITION MODEL FOR ANALYZING BEHAVIORAL COMPATIBILITY OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES E.J. Cameron and Y-J Lin (Bellcore) PROGRAMMING AND VERIFYING CRITICAL SYSTEMS BY MEANS OF THE SYNCHRONOUS DATA-FLOW LANGUAGE LUSTRE C. Ratel (Merlin-Gerin), N. Halbwachs and P. Raymond (IMAG/LGI) Discussion Session 8: 3:45 - 5:30, Mark Moriconi, Chair Invited Talks on Practical Experiences: Emphasis is on difficult real-world problems, approaches to critical systems development, and lessons learned with respect to requirements, specification, design evaluation, testing, and other forms of assurance. VALIDATION OF CRITICAL FLIGHT CONTROLS Jim McWha (Chief Eng., 777 Flight Controls, Boeing) TELEPHONE SWITCHING SYSTEMS Michael Meyers (AT&T Bell Labs) A CASE STUDY OF THE THERAC 25 ACCIDENTS Nancy Leveson (U.C. Irvine) Session 9: 8:00pm - 9:30pm, Evening Poster Session FRIDAY, 6 DECEMBER 1991 Session 10: 8:30am - 10:30, Hermann Kopetz, Chair STEPWISE DESIGN OF REAL-TIME SYSTEMS Reino Kurki-Suonio (University of Technology, Tampere) ON SATISFYING TIMING CONSTRAINTS IN HARD-REAL-TIME SYSTEMS Jia Xu (York University), David Parnas (McMaster University) AUTOMATED ANALYSIS OF BOUNDED RESPONSE TIME FOR TWO NASA EXPERT SYSTEMS C-K Wang, R-H Wang, D-C Tsou, J.C. Browne, and A.K. Mok (University of Texas, Austin) Session 11: 11:00 - 12:30, Hermann Kopetz, Chair Open discussion of Real-time Issues PANEL: WHERE ARE WE AND WHERE SHOULD WE BE HEADED? Nancy Leveson, (U.C. Irvine) and others. What is the state of the art in building critical systems? What are the limitations of the various approaches? What is needed? Adjornment at 12:30 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = ADVANCE REGISTRATION FORM SIGSOFT '91 — Software for Critical Systems Fairmont Hotel, New Orleans, Dec. 4 — 6, 1991 Name _________________________________________________________ Affiliation __________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________________ City, State and Zip __________________________________________ Phone (and FAX) ______________________________________________ email address ________________________________________________ ACM or SIGSOFT Membership No. ________________________________ Registration Fees (Circle one) Before After Category Nov. 1 Nov. 1 --------------------------------------------------- ACM or SIGSOFT Member $280 $330 Non-Member $330 $380 Full-time Student $180 $230 To pay by credit card, circle one: AMEX VISA MC Name on card __________________________________________________ Card number __________________Exp. date _______________________ Signature _____________________________________________________ Make checks payable to SIGSOFT '91 in U.S. dollars. Requests for refunds must be received by Nov. 15. Fees include 3 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches, and the Proceedings. Dietary requests: vegetarian ______ Kosher ________ Other? ________ SEND THIS FORM WITH FULL PAYMENT TO: Judith Burgess / EL266, SRI International, 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA For further information, contact Judith Burgess, firstname.lastname@example.org phone: (415) 859-5924, FAX (415) 859-2844 NOTE: REGISTRATION BY EMAIL OR FAX IS ALSO PERMITTED (ONLY WITH CREDIT CARD)a. (RISKS FORUM READERS MAY PREFER TO TRANSMIT CREDIT CARD NUMBERS BY PHONE OR FAX OR OTHER OUT-OF-BAND MEDIUM IF YOU PREFER NOT TO SEND IT ON-LINE!) = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = FAIRMONT HOTEL RESERVATION FORM SIGSOFT '91 — Software for Critical Systems New Orleans, Dec. 4 — 6, 1991 Name _________________________________________________________ Affiliation __________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________________ City, State and Zip __________________________________________ Phone (and FAX) ______________________________________________ Date/Time of Arrival _________________________________________ Date/Time of Departure _______________________________________ Room Rates (subject to taxes): Circle one: Single $99 Double/Twin $119 RESERVATIONS: 1-800-527-4727 or 1-504-529-7111 To guarantee your reservation by credit card: Circle one: AMEX MC Visa Carte Blanche Diners Club Name on card _________________________________________________ Card number ___________________ Exp. date ____________________ Signature ____________________________________________________ These rates apply from Nov. 29 through Dec. 8, subject to availability. Reservations must be received 30 days in advance. A deposit for the first night must accompany your reservation to guarantee it for arrival after 6:00pm. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. SEND THIS FORM TO: The Fairmont Hotel, University Place, New Orleans, LA 70140, USA = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = For further information on the conference, contact Judith Burgess. The General Chairman is Mark Moriconi, Computer Science Laboratory, SRI International, Room EL-249, 333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park CA 94025-3493 (phone 415-859-5364, Internet email@example.com). Program CoChairs are Peter G. Neumann at SRI, Room EL-243 (phone 415-859-2375, Internet firstname.lastname@example.org) and Nancy Leveson of the University of California at Irvine (currently on sabbatical at the University of Washington, phone 206-543-1695, Internet email@example.com). The Program Committee consists of David Barstow (Schlumberger), Dines Bj/orner (Technical University of Denmark), Marie-Claude Gaudel (Universite de Paris - Sud), Jim Horning (DEC Systems Research Center, Palo Alto CA), Bill Howden (University of California, San Diego), Hermann Kopetz (Technical University of Vienna), Carl Landwehr (Naval Research Laboratory), Bev Littlewood (City University, London), Leon Osterweil (University of California, Irvine), David Parnas (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), Fred Schneider (Cornell University), Vicky Stavridou (University of London), Martyn Thomas (Praxis, Inc.), Walter Tichy (University of Karlsruhe), and Elaine Weyuker (NYU Courant Institute). Johnette Hassell, Tulane University, is managing Local and Travel Arrangements. [Judith Burgess is handling just about everything else, and all questions should be directed to her.]
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