The case for formal methods in software development


Authors: Lindsay Groves, Bill Flinn
Source: GZipped PostScript (25kb); Adobe PDF (30kb)

Traditional software development is based on informal specifications, which are often ambiguous or inconsistent, and informal development methods, which are unverifiable. The use of formal methods, based on mathematics and logic, is receiving considerable attention overseas, but seems to be largely ignored in New Zealand. In this paper, we discuss various aspects of formal methods, including formal specification of software, rapid prototyping from formal specifications, formal development methods, and software tools to support formal methods. We also discuss some uses of formal methods overseas and consider the applicability these methods.

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