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Bibliographic Item (1.0)
- David Lorge Parnas
- Really rethinking 'Formal Methods'
- IEEE Computer Magazine V43n1(Jan 2010)pp28-34 + letter V43n3(Mar 2010)pp6-7
- =POLEMIC =HISTORY FORMAL METHODS ASSUMPTIONS RESEARCH vs PRACTICE MATHEMATICS ENGINEERING vs PHILOSOPHY
- Claims of progress and industrial adoption doubted.
Example: benefits of inspection vs formal specification known since 1979.
They can account for most later claims!
- Alarming gaps: Research vs Practice, Software development vs engineering, computer science and mathematics.
- Mathematical papers are about a particular formal language not discovering ways to apply new mathematics to a problem.
- Computer variables are finite state machine but in mathematics variable are placeholders in functions and relations.
- How to handle arrays.
- Conventional expressions don't express piecewise-continuous and discrete functions.
- These days: most software variables have a hidden state., programs do not terminate, and time is important.
- Use relations and relational algebra! Abandon pre-conditions and post-conditions!
- Work in multiple directions.
- Find ways to handle side-effects and non-determinism.
- Distinguish model vs specification vs description. Avoid "specification languages"
- Investigate using a predicate to specify requirements.
- Need to be able to analyze a program like an engineer analyses a circuit. Not program proof,
but derivation of properties.
- Need to research ways to use mathematics to document programs -- outside of the code of the program.
- De-emphasize "technology transfer" and advocacy, instead go back and change what we are selling.
- We need an integrated notation and step by step ways of moving from user to code.
- Be careful to spot abstractions that are lies!
- Don't try to be philosophers and logicians... try to emulate engineers.
- Letter from Toomas Plaks: Some math applications were lost in the search for formal methods.
- Letter from Lee Pike: quotes examples of successful FMs, but some research not worthwhile.
- Reply: mathematics is not yet mainstream.
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