Title: Literature Review of Argumentation Languages in the Context of Safety-critical Systems Assessment
Subject: Software engineering
Level: Advanced
Description: Safety cases (i.e., structured arguments, supported by a body of evidence, that provide compelling, comprehensible and valid cases that systems are safe for a given application in a given operating environment) are often represented by using text-based or graphics-based argumentation languages [1]. Structured Assurance Case Metamodel (SACM) [3] is the OMG’s standard that unifies broadly used graphical notations for documenting safety cases. More precisely, SACMS unifies: Goal-Structuring Notation (GSN) [2] and Claims and Arguments and Evidence (CAE) [5]. Other notations exist and are to some extent compatible with SACM (e.g., Resolute [6] and NOR-STA Argument Notation [7]). Also, SACM dialects exist, aimed at making SACM itself evolve (e.g. [8]). Common Assurance and Certification Metamodel (CACM), for instance, includes a SACM dialect and is being implemented within the AMASS platform [4].

Careful analysis and evaluation of argumentation languages has not been done. Therefore, there is need to identify of the current state-of-the-art of argumentation languages and tools in the context of safety-critical systems assessment. Moreover, the classification scheme is also required that serve as a guide for researchers and practitioners to find a specific approach or set of approaches that is of interest to them. Literature Review is the form of secondary study, while individual studies that contribute to the review are considered primary studies.

This thesis aims at: 1) conducting a literature review to discover the existing argumentation languages and tools in the context of safety-critical systems assessment; 2) applying the discovered languages and tools on a case study in order to analyse their advantages and disadvantages, barriers, and challenges in order to guide users in their selection.
The research results found while performing 1-2 shall be incorporated in a thesis report in compliance with MDH requirements [9].

1. C.M. Holloway, “Safety Case Notations: Alternatives for the Non-Graphically Inclined?”, in Proceedings of the IET 3nd International Conference on System Safety, Birmingham, UK, October 20-22, 2008, pp. 1-6.
2. T.P Kelly, J.A McDermid, “A systematic approach to safety case maintenance”, In Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Volume 71, Issue 3, 2001, Pages 271-284, ISSN 0951-8320
3. Object Management Group (OMG), “Structured Assurance Case Metamodel (SACM), Version 2.0,” https://www.omg.org/spec/SACM/2.0, 2018
4. AMASS Deliverable D2.4, “Reference Architecture (c)”, https://www.amass-ecsel.eu/sites/amass.drupal.pulsartecnalia.com/files/documents/D2.4_AMASS-reference-architecture-%28c%29_AMASS_Final.pdf
5. Claims, Arguments and Evidence (CAE), https://www.adelard.com/asce/choosing-asce/cae.html
6. Andrew Gacek, John Backes, Darren Cofer, Konrad Slind, Mike Whalen, “Resolute: An Assurance Case Language for Architecture Models”, CoRR, 2014
7. NOR-STA Argument Notation, https://www.argevide.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Argevide-WP2-NOR-STA-argument-notation.pdf
8. C. Cârlan, B. Gallina, S. Kacianka, and R. Breu, “Arguing on Software-Level Verification Techniques Appropriateness”, in Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security, SAFECOMP-2017
9. http://www.idt.mdh.se/examensarbete/
Start date:
End date:
Prerequisites: Knowledge of safety cases
IDT supervisors: Faiz UL Muram
Examiner: Barbara Gallina
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