Requirements to object-code traceability tool for avionics software released by LDRA

SAN JOSE, Calif., 3 May 2011. New tool suite from LDRA in San Bruno, Calif., offers requirements-to-object–code traceability for avionics and medical applications. The tool ensures that verification problems found at the object-code level can be quickly traced to the originating source code and requirements levels. LDRA is showcasing the tool at their booth (#838) at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), being held this week at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

May 3rd, 2011

Posted by John McHale
SAN JOSE, Calif., 3 May 2011. New tool suite from LDRA in San Bruno, Calif., offers requirements-to-object–code traceability for avionics and medical applications. The tool ensures that verification problems found at the object-code level can be quickly traced to the originating source code and requirements levels. LDRA is showcasing the tool at their booth (#838) at the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC), being held this week at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.
Evidence that all lines of software have been fully tested at the source- and object-code levels is becoming more important for a number of industries. DO-178C, the new avionics software standard, will soon mandate this for the most critical software, and medical and automotive industries are recognizing that this verification process is equally valuable in their environments. Discrepancies caused by compiler interpretation or program optimization can lead to code verification passing at the source level, but failing at the assembler object-code level.
Tracing the object code -- also referred to as assembler code -- back to the originating high-level source code is a tedious, time-consuming challenge without requirements-to-object–code traceability, LDRA officials say. The new LDRA tool will reduce the time and risk for companies developing embedded software.
In the past, many companies needing to meet stringent certification requirements verified their object code using in-house tools. However, with the adoption of more complex architectures, engineering teams no longer have in-house expertise on the modern architectures, nor can they afford to develop and maintain complex object-level verification tools for project-specific implementations. LDRA equips developers with the ability to review code instruction by instruction, while eliminating the cost of developing and maintaining tools in-house.
"In the medical community where 510k filings take 18 months or longer to be processed for compliance with the Medical Devices Act, there's an understandable desire to develop, test, and file for compliance as soon as possible," says Dr. Jerry Krasner, principal analyst of Embedded Market Forecasters in Natick, Mass. "Software verification tools, particularly those that automate requirements traceability to object code, provide an additional level of confidence that code has been thoroughly executed, tested against requirements and verified. Far too often, verification is a bottleneck for process completion."
"Software whose failure can result in the loss of life quite understandably demands a more stringent level of verification," says Ian Hennell, LDRA operations director. "In the past, such rigor has caused companies to lose control of project budgets and deadlines. Automated traceability minimizes that risk through much improved transparency, speed of debug, test pass/fail verification, and automated documentation. It makes project management much simpler by providing the ability to pinpoint on demand what needs to be done and where any remaining problems lie."
The importance of software verification tools is underlined in "The use of requirements management and software verification tools as part of a comprehensive medical devices development strategy," a paper by Dr. Krasner. Copies of the paper are available on LDRA's Web site at www.ldra.com/emf_rm-svt_2011.asp and in at LDRA's booth (#883) at ESC this week.

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