EWICS: sads-subgroup

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Safety Aspects of Distributed Systems Subgroup
BRIEFING PAPER

Introduction

EWICS TC7 (European Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems, Technical Committee 7) is an international body of experts in the field of dependable industrial computer systems and focuses its interest on safety, reliability and security.

The Safety Aspects of Distributed Systems Subgroup was set up within EWICS TC7 in 1991. The Subgroup has some forty members from eleven countries. The members are from industry, universities and government institutions. The main industries represented include transportation, process control and atomic energy. Government agencies include regulatory, assessment and testing authorities. The subgroup used to meet four times a year with average attendance of around fifteen members. The output of the Subgroup is the document, the Guidelines on Achieving Safety in Distributed Systems which has been completed by the end of 1997.

Problem Statement

The primary concern of the Subgroup is safety of industrial computer applications. The group recognises that distributed computer systems are receiving increasing acceptance in the industrial world, which creates new challenges as to how to maintain the risks which they create to the people and environment within acceptable boundaries. The primary goal of the subgroup is to provide guidance on achieving safety in industrial computer based distributed systems over the system lifecycle. The intention is to provide a more in-depth insight into the safety related problems which are specific to distributed systems and/or which are becoming especially important when a distribution of the system is becoming its dominant feature. Another, complementary goal is to create a working environment through which the members of the subgroup could share ideas, experiences and knowledge, mutually increase their competence and spread the safety related "culture" through their companies and institutions.

Progress to Date

The work has concentrated on collection of information from diverse sources presenting approaches, problems encountered, the solutions adopted and good practices and standards related to safety related distributed computer systems industrial applications. This information has been disseminated through the Subgroup for commenting and discussion during meetings. Then the work concentrated on editing and reviewing the collected material and in some cases filling the outstanding gaps with the new relevant information. Presently the Guidelines on Achieving Safety in Distributed Systems is ready for dissemination.

Contacts

SADS Subgroup Chairman: Prof. Janusz Górski
Technical University of Gdansk
80-952 Gdansk
Poland
tel: +(48)(58)347 19 09
fax: +(48)(58)347 27 27
jango 'at' pg.gda.pl

SADS Subgroup Vice-Chairman: Stuart Anderson
LFCS
The University of Edinburgh
The King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ, UK
tel: +44 (0) 131 650 5191
fax: +(44)(0) 131 667 7209

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