Skip to main content

A Thought Experiment on Evolution of Assurance Cases

—from a Logical Aspect

  • 2186 Accesses

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNPSE,volume 10489)


A thought experiment on evolution of assurance argument is performed on the basis of an interview with a manufacturer that applied for a certification of conformance of their in-house software life cycle to a safety standard. The working hypothesis of the experiment is that assurance cases help find problems in arguments on software life cycle and improve the life cycle. Based on the result of the thought experiment, questions for further empirical studies are generated and the ontology of relevant information items are analysed.


  • Assurance case
  • Assurance argument
  • Software assurance
  • Software life cycle
  • Evolution
  • Formal approach
  • Thought experiment

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-66284-8_2
  • Chapter length: 10 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   64.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-66284-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.


  1. 1.

    Here is a more strict but involved explanation. Items and the top level requirements are described in a different language as they are at different level of abstraction. So, fulfillment by an item of the top level requirements means fulfillment by an item of the interpreted top level requirements, given an interpretation of top level requirements language to items language. There are in general many such interpretations, such as the manufacturer’s and certification body’s in our thought experiment. Stakeholders would have their own interpretation under which they are confident that “an item fulfills the requirements” means “an item fulfills the interpreted requirements.”


  1. Ankrum, T.S., Kromholz, A.H.: Structured assurance cases: three common standards. In: Ninth IEEE International Symposium on High-Assurance Systems Engineering (HASE 2005), pp. 99–108 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Holloway, C.M.: Explicate78: uncovering the implicit assurance case in do-178c. Technical report 20150009473, NASA Langley Research Center (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  3. ISO/IEC: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, Principles and rules for the structure and drafting of ISO and IEC documents, 7th edn. (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  4. ISO/IEC/IEEE: 12207 FDIS Software life cycle processes (Final Draft International Standard registered for approval)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Knight, J.C., Rowanhill, J.: The indispensable role of rationale in safety standards. In: Skavhaug, A., Guiochet, J., Bitsch, F. (eds.) SAFECOMP 2016. LNCS, vol. 9922, pp. 39–50. Springer, Cham (2016). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45477-1_4

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  6. Moore, A.P., Klinker, J.E., Mihelcic, D.M.: How to construct formal arguments that persuade certifiers. In: Hinchey, M.G., Bowen, J.P. (eds.) Industrial-Strength Formal Methods in Practice. FACIT, pp. 285–314. Springer, London (1999). doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-0523-7_13

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  7. Tokoro, M. (ed.): Open Systems Dependability: Dependability Engineering for Ever-Changing Systems, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Kinoshita, Y., Takeyama, M.: Assurance case as a proof in a theory towards formulation of rebuttals. In: Dale, C., Anderson, T. (eds.) Assuring the Safety of Systems, Proceedings of the Twenty-first Safety-Critical Systems Symposium, Bristol, UK, pp. 205–230 (2013). SCSC on Amazon ISBN 978-1-4810-18647

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors acknowledge Makoto Takeyama’s thoughtful comments on the draft of this paper. Koji Okuno coordinated the authors’ contact with Nihon Koden Corp. that led to this work. The authors thank Kazuo Oosone, Masato Tanaka and Yuichi Kurabe for sharing their experience as software engineering experts in industry. The second author is grateful to Bengt Nordström for providing necessary facilities to prepare a draft of this paper during his stay in Göteborg.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yoshiki Kinoshita .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG

About this paper

Cite this paper

Kinoshita, S., Kinoshita, Y. (2017). A Thought Experiment on Evolution of Assurance Cases. In: Tonetta, S., Schoitsch, E., Bitsch, F. (eds) Computer Safety, Reliability, and Security . SAFECOMP 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 10489. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-66283-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-66284-8

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)