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Formal Methods in Dependable Systems Engineering: A Survey of Professionals from Europe and North America

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Publication details

JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
DateSubmitted - 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 9 Sep 2020
Number of pages74
Early online date9/09/20
Original languageEnglish


Context: Formal methods (FMs) have been around for a while, still being
unclear how to leverage their benefits, overcome their challenges, and set new
directions for their improvement towards a more successful transfer into
practice. Objective: We study the use of formal methods in mission-critical
software domains, examining industrial and academic views. Method: We perform a
cross-sectional on-line survey. Results: Our results indicate an increased
intent to apply FMs in industry, suggesting a positively perceived usefulness.
But the results also indicate a negatively perceived ease of use. Scalability,
skills, and education seem to be among the key challenges to support this
intent. Conclusions: We present the largest study of this kind so far (N =
216), and our observations provide valuable insights, highlighting directions
for future theoretical and empirical research of formal methods. Our findings
are strongly coherent with earlier observations by Austin and Parkin (1993).

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© The Author(s) 2020

    Research areas

  • Formal methods, Empirical research, On-line survey, Usage, Usefulness, Practical challenges, Research transfer, Software engineering education & training

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