New software assessment centre receives provincial funding

HAMILTON – A software review facility to be located at McMaster University receives $6.9 million in funding from the Ontario Research Fund as it prepares to open a new $21-million global research centre McMasterEngineering.jpgaimed at eliminating potential catastrophic medical, energy and transportation disasters due to software failure. The Centre for Safety-Critical Software Certification, a co-initiative including eight industry partners as well as University of Waterloo, York University and McMaster, will research and develop product-focused certification standards and processes for critical software applications. Applications will initially focus on the operation of pacemakers, health monitoring equipment, banking transactions, financial reporting, and nuclear reactors.
“Almost everything we do today relies on software, whether it’s making a heart beat properly, transferring funds or generating electricity,” says Tom Maibaum, principal investigator for the initiative and Canada Research Chair in Foundations of Software Engineering at McMaster. “Software failure can have catastrophic consequences on our lives and property. This project is about making a major improvement in the way we build safety-critical software applications, and the way in which we evaluate those applications in order to certify them as safe and effective.”
One of only a few such projects in the world, the centre will commercialize new technology through its industrial partners AMD, Atomic Energy Canada, Biosign Technologies, Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, Legacy Systems International, Ontario Power Generation, QNX Software Systems International, and Systemware Innovation. The centre also expects to graduate 10 master’s and 20 PhD students, as well as support four post-doctoral fellows and four research engineers over the next five years.

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