Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Components and contracts

Participants : Alain Girault, Christophe Prévot, Sophie Quinton, Jean-Bernard Stefani.

Contracts for the negotiation of embedded software updates

We address the issue of change after deployment in safety-critical embedded system applications in collaboration with Thales and also in the context of the CCC project (

The goal of CCC is to substitute lab-based verification with in-field formal analysis to determine whether an update may be safely applied. This is challenging because it requires an automated process able to handle multiple viewpoints such as functional correctness, timing, etc. For this purpose, we propose an original methodology for contract-based negotiation of software updates. The use of contracts allows us to cleanly split the verification effort between the lab and the field. In addition, we show how to rely on existing viewpoint-specific methods for update negotiation. We have validated our approach on a concrete example inspired by the automotive domain in collaboration with our German partners from TU Braunschweig [19].

In collaboration with Thales we mostly focus on timing aspects with the objective to anticipate at design time future software evolutions and identify potential schedulability bottlenecks. This year we have presented an approach to quantify the flexibility of a system with respect to timing. In particular we have shown that it is possible under certain conditions to identify the task that will directly induce the limitations on a possible software update. If performed at design time, such a result can be used to adjust the system design by giving more slack to the limiting task [21].

Location graphs

The design of configurable systems can be streamlined and made more systematic by adopting a component-based structure, as demonstrated with the Fractal component model [2]. However, the formal foundations for configurable component-based systems, featuring higher-order capabilities where components can be dynamically instantiated and passivated, and non-hierarchical structures where components can be contained in different composites at the same time, are still an open topic. We have recently introduced the location graph model [79], where components are understood as graphs of locations hosting higher-order processes, and where component structures can be arbitrary graphs.

We have continued the development of location graphs, revisiting the underlying structural model (hypergraphs instead of graphs), and simplifying its operational semantics while preserving the model expressivity. Towards the development of a behavioral theory of location graphs, we have defined different notions of bisimilarity for location graphs and shown them to be congruences, although a fully fledged co-inductive characterization of contextual equivalence for location graphs is still in the works. This work has not yet been published.