Skip to main content

Formal Specification as a Tool for Objective Assessment of Safety-Critical Interactive Systems

  • Chapter

Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT)


The design of safety critical systems calls for advanced software engineering models, methods and tools in order to guarantee safety requirements that can put human life at stake. When the safety critical system encompasses a substantial interactive component, the same level of confidence is required towards the human-computer interface. Conventional empirical or semi-formal techniques, although very fruitful, do not provide sufficient insight on the reliability of the human system cooperation, and offer no easy way, for example, to quantitatively compare two design options. The aim of this paper is to present a method with related tools: and techniques for engineering the design and development of usable user interfaces for safety-critical applications. The specific application area which we will consider is air traffic control but most of the results will be valid for any application areas with similar requirements.


  • Formal specification
  • Interaction Techniques
  • Task Models
  • Petri nets
  • Air Traffic Control


  1. Emerson E.A., Srinivasan J. Branching Time Temporal Logic, in LNCS 354 p.122–172, Springer-Verlag 1988.

    Google Scholar 

  2. A.Hall, “Using Formal Methods to Develop an ATC Information System”, IEEE Software, pp. 66–76, March 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Jancar P. Decidability of a temporal logic problem for Petri nets. Journal of Theoretical Computer Science, vol. 74, pp. 71–93, 1990.

    MathSciNet  MATH  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. C.Johnson, “The Application of Petri Nets to Represent and Reason About Human Factors Problems During Accident Analyses, Proceedings DSV-IS’95, pp. 93–112, Springer Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  5. D.MacKenzie, “Computer-related accidental death: an empirical exploration”, Science and Public Policy, 21,, August, pp.233–248.

    Google Scholar 

  6. T.Murata, “Petri net Properties, analysis and applications”. Proceedings of the IEEE (77), 4, 1989, pp. 541, 580.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  7. Palanque P and Bastide R. Performance evaluation as a tool for evaluating the formal design of user interface. Proceedings of the IEEE CESA’96 conference, IEEE Press 1996, pp. 235–245.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Palanque P and Bastide R. Verification of an interactive software by analysis of its formal specification. Proceeding of Interact’95 conference Chapman et Hall. pp. 191–196.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Palanque P., Paterno’ F., Bastide R., Mezzanotte M. Towards an Integrated Proposal for Interactive Systems design based on TLIM and MICO. Proceedings of DSV-IS’96, Springer Verlag 1996.

    Google Scholar 

  10. F.Patemo’, M.Mezzanotte, “Formal Analysis of User and System Interactions in the CERD Case Study”, Proceedings of EHCI’95, Chapman and Hall Publisher, 1995.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 1997 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Palanque, P., Bastide, R., Paternò, F. (1997). Formal Specification as a Tool for Objective Assessment of Safety-Critical Interactive Systems. In: Howard, S., Hammond, J., Lindgaard, G. (eds) Human-Computer Interaction INTERACT ’97. IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing. Springer, Boston, MA.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4757-5437-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-35175-9

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive