Participatory Verification of Railway Infrastructure by Representing Regulations in RailCNL
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Designs of railway infrastructure (tracks, signalling and control systems, etc.) need to comply with comprehensive sets of regulations describing safety requirements, engineering conventions, and design heuristics. We have previously worked on automating the verification of railway designs against such regulations, and integrated a verification tool based on Datalog reasoning into the CAD tools of railway engineers. This was used in a pilot project at Norconsult AS (formerly Anacon AS). In order to allow railway engineers with limited logic programming experience to participate in the verification process, in this work we introduce a controlled natural language, RailCNL, which is designed as a middle ground between informal regulations and Datalog code. Phrases in RailCNL correspond closely to those in the regulation texts, and can be translated automatically into the input language of the verifier. We demonstrate a prototype system which, upon detecting regulation violations, traces back from errors in the design through the CNL to the marked-up original text, allowing domain experts to examine the correctness of each translation step and better identify sources of errors. We also describe our design methodology, based on CNL best practices and previous experience with creating verification front-end languages.
We thank Martin Steffen and Aarne Ranta for numerous useful interactions, and Claus Feyling (CEO of RailCOMPLETE AS) for allowing us to use the time of his engineers for testing our results and other railway specific interactions.
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