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Lynx exhibited at the 28th annual Safety-Critical Systems Symposium  on February 11th to 13th 2020 in York, United Kingdom. The SSS is hosted by the UK Safety-Critical Systems Club, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness and facilitate technology transfer in the field of safety-critical systems.

At the symposium, Lynx demonstrated LYNX MOSA.ic™’s cache allocation technology capabilities on a multicore Intel Xeon D-1541 processor and ENSCO’s IData certifiable cockpit display running on LynxOS-178®.

Presentation highlights included:

  • Dewi Daniels’s Keynote: The 737 Max Accidents
  • Emma Arina Taylor’s: Safety in Space: A Changing Picture?
  • James Sharp’s: A Practical Assurance Approach for Multi-Cores (MCs) Within Safety-Critical Software Applications

The 737 Max Accidents

Dewi Daniels presented a detailed analysis of the 2 tragic crashes in 2018 and 2019 that grounded the 737 MAX fleet to this day (Feb 2020). The presentation looked at the facts in order to debunk myths surrounding the causes of the accidents. Dewi’s opinion is that the accidents were not caused by lack of FAA oversight, lack of pilot training, nor engineering outsourcing inside Boeing; instead, the causes lie with a failure of system safety engineering and a failure of requirements engineering.  Specifically, the lack of redundant angle-of-attack sensors for the MCAS system, and incorrect classification of MCAS as DO-178C DAL-C rather than higher.

Safety in Space: A Changing Picture?

Emma Arina Taylor from the Safety and Reliability Society  (SaRS) began with a description of the risk of space debris to satellites, both the physical damage it can do and the fuel impact of maneuvering to avoid it. She continued with the lesser-known topic of radio frequency regulation in space. As on Earth, radio spectrum is a finite resource in space, but in space, radio is critical for controlling spaceships and satellites moving at high speeds—and potentially unrecoverable from a missed or late command. Emma continued to discuss the space insurance market. The cost of space insurance is acceptable at present, largely because there have been few significant claims. With large space investments such as SpaceX’s Starlink 12,000 satellite constellation being launched the value of assets in orbit is rising fast, but so too is the risk of an accident.

A Practical Assurance Approach for Multi-Cores (MCs) Within Safety-Critical Software Applications

James Sharp from DSTL described the problems of achieving a multi-core certification including issues such as multi-core interference in shared resources, such as L3 cache, causing problems with WCET (worst case execution time). DSTL’s work on multi-core safety certification predates both CAST-32 and CAST-32A (i.e., is older than 2014), but DSTL agree 100% with CAST-32A. Also described in the presentation were the problems of getting information from your real-time operating system (RTOS) vendor about the internals of their hypervisor, and from your silicon vendor on the internals of your multi-core processor. Multi-core hardware is a problem because in the past with the lack of DO-254 evidence for the chips, a proven in use argument has been used, but DSTL suspects this won't work for multi-core processor hardware. Worse, they worry that with the detailed micro-architectural problems being discovered now, some existing single-core certifications might have to be revisited.

Tim Loveless | Principal Solutions Architect

Written by Tim Loveless | Principal Solutions Architect

Tim Loveless has 25 years’ embedded industry experience in the fields of real-time operating systems, safety critical systems, JTAG tools, and embedded linux. Before joining Lynx Software Technologies as Principal Solutions Architect, he worked as an FAE for Wind River UK, for Intel’s Internet of Things Group and as European Aerospace and Defence FAE Manager for Wind River. Tim’s interests include computer security and macroeconomics. He enjoys podcasts, cycling, and running, while skiing and paddle boarding are rare treats.