MDH research facilitates changes in safety-critical systems

Feb 06, 2019 | Research/Cooperation Global

Vehicles, trains and aircraft contain safety-critical systems that undergo changes continuously. Every change must be handled carefully, as it can affect the safety of the system and have devastating consequences. Omar Jaradat, who recently received his PhD in computer science at MDH, has been researching on how the management of changes in these systems can be facilitated, while preserving safety.

Picture of Omar Jaradat.

– The goal of my research has been to facilitate the management of changes in safety-critical systems, by using so-called safety contracts. My research makes it easier for system developers to handle changes in safety-critical systems, which ultimately provides safer cars for the user to drive around in, says Omar Jaradat.

In 2012, he was employed as a doctoral student at MDH and has since then focused on research in safety-critical systems, that is, systems that can cause loss of human life, significant damage to property or damage to the environment when system failures occur.

– Safety-critical systems must be maintained continuously in order to be able to adapt to new technology and their environment. For every change that is made, the system developer must prove that the system's safety has not been affected because of the change and document evidence of it in a so-called safety case. This is a process that takes long time and is costly for the companies, says Omar Jaradat.

Faster process and safer product

In his doctoral thesis, "Contracts-Based Maintenance of Safety Cases", he presents techniques and methods for how sensitivity analysis and safety contracts can be used to facilitate the management of changes. By using these methods and techniques, the system developer can find out which parts of the system are most sensitive to changes and how these changes can affect the safety of the system, early in the process. 

– In this way, the update of the safety cases can go faster, become less expensive and errors in the system are discovered during the development phase, instead of when the product is already on the market, says Omar Jaradat.

Want to gain more experience from the industry

After receiving his PhD, Omar Jaradat moved to York in the UK, where he works a safety and quality manager at ETAS.

– The plan is to work in the industry to gain more experience, which I might then use in my potential future research, says Omar Jaradat.