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Arguing Conformance
May-June 2012 (vol. 29 no. 3)
pp. 50-57
Patrick Graydon, University of York
Ibrahim Habli, University of York
Richard Hawkins, University of York
Tim Kelly, University of York
John Knight, University of Virginia
Conformance to software standards plays an essential role in establishing confidence in high-integrity software systems. However, standards conformance suffers from uncertainty about its meaning for three reasons: because requirements of the standard must be interpreted to fit the specifics of the application; because standards can deliberately leave options for developers; and because goal-based software standards exist that simply specify the high-level principles of software assurance without prescribing a specific means of compliance. The overall effect of these issues is that when conformance to a software assurance standard is claimed, there can be a lack of clarity as to exactly what the claim entails. This article draws on principles and practice from the domain of safety argument construction to describe the use of explicit and structured conformance arguments to help address this problem.

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Index Terms:
standards, software and system safety, software engineering
Citation:
Patrick Graydon, Ibrahim Habli, Richard Hawkins, Tim Kelly, John Knight, "Arguing Conformance," IEEE Software, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 50-57, May-June 2012, doi:10.1109/MS.2012.26
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