Software Engineering of Safety-Critical Systems: Themes from Practitioners

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18 Scopus citations


This study addresses two important questions related to engineering of safety-critical software and software-intensive systems. The first question is: which software and software-intensive systems should be considered safety critical? The second question is: what processes, design practices, and tools have practitioners been using for building these systems? We answer these questions through an analysis of unstructured interviews with experienced engineers who self-describe as working on safety-critical systems. Then, a thematic analysis of these responses was conducted. The results of this study are intended to provide guidance to those building safety-critical systems and have implications on state engineering licensure boards, in the determination of legal liability, and in risk assessment for policymakers, corporate governors, and insurance executives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8006260
Pages (from-to)825-836
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Reliability
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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