Developing Critical Systems with PLD Components

Hilton, Adrian J and Hall, Jon G. (2004). Developing Critical Systems with PLD Components. Technical Report 2004/09; Department of Computing, The Open University.



Programmable logic devices (PLDs) are now common components of critical systems, and are increasingly used for safety-related or safety-critical functionality. Since 1999 avionics-and defence-related safety standards have advised and prescribed various approaches for PLD programming in safety-related systems. There are many differences between current and recommended practice, and safety engineers differ on how to apply the existing standards. This paper describes past and current practice in programming PLDs in critical systems. It summarises the relevant safety and security standards and anticipates forthcoming changes to UK standards. It describes the work that the authors and others have done in the field of specifying, designing and proving correct PLD programs and maps out avenues of work that the authors believe necessary for PLD programming technology to keep pace with PLD functionality.

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