Why we do what we do


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Software Development

The development of software has for over 30 years suffered from various issues that have caused spiralling costs and ineffective products. Industry has, of course, recognised the problem, but has largely chosen to try to fix issues through adoption of fashions, tinkering with processes but rarely getting to the heart of the problem. Fixes have been highly tempered with a resistance to alter the way in which a company develops software purely for legacy reasons.

Throughout, there has been an increasing use of software to provide desired functionality which has led to a significant and constant rise in complexity. This has meant that the industry is always playing catch up in a fast moving technology sector but still using techniques that have changed little over decades. Reviews and test are intensely subjective and constrained in their efficacy. There is often churn in system and software requirements which, when combined with inflexible processes, cause opportunity for error and cost rise.

The development is often largely focussed on making the code ‘work’; there is little understanding of how to make sure that it won’t do what is not required, ever; and, from a system perspective, make sure that software can react correctly to when something goes wrong.

Software Engineering

D-RisQ recognised that the issues all revolve around the need to found software principles on ‘engineering’ rather than simply ‘coding’. Engineering is the application of physics and mathematics (and physics is the application of mathematics…). We therefore are exploiting the mathematics behind all computing.

 Indeed, Alan Turing produced a paper in 1949 in which he stated that he could prove that a program worked without the need to test it, so this is nothing new. We exploit the software engineering discipline called ‘Formal Methods’, but crucially, because this is software, we can use a program to make the techniques accessible to all users. We hide the formalism, the mathematics, and ensure that any feedback is readily understood.

 The discipline starts with writing requirements, goes through design, into code and onto the binary. The techniques can be applied to embedded systems such as those in aerospace, autonomous systems, automotive as well to cyber-security.  Crucially, they can easily fit in with existing processes and hence barriers to adoption are low.  Cost savings, can be as much as 80%, even for safety critical systems. Compliance to standards such as DO-178C/ED-12C are a by-product of the use of the technologies and will therefore significantly de-risk software development.

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