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CM50121: Safety critical systems

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Computer Science
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 25%, EX 75%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 25%)
  • Examination (EX 75%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: This unit shares lectures and tutorials with CM30072.
To give an appreciation of the current state of safe systems development. To develop an understanding of risk in systems. To give a foundation in hazard analysis models and techniques. To show how safety principles may be built into all stages of the software development process.

Learning Outcomes: After studying this unit a student will be able to:
* understand the concepts of safety, risk and the role of human factors in the design and operation of safety critical systems;
* understand the nature and role of the safety lifecycle in developing safety related systems;
* choose and apply appropriate hazard identification and analysis techniques for a variety of safety related problems;
* critically evaluate and reason effectively about hazardous situations in safety critical systems.

Skills: Understanding of safety issues in software and systems development (T, A); critical analysis of safety critical situations in software and systems development (T, F, A); choosing appropriate analysis and design techniques for a wide range of safety-critical situations (T, F, A); assessment of risk and associated human factors in a variety of systems (T, A).

Content: The nature of risk: computers and risk; how accidents happen; human error. System safety: historical approaches to system safety; basic concepts and terminology. Managing the development of safety-critical systems. Modelling human error and the accident process. Hazard analysis: basic principles; models and techniques. Safety principles in the software lifecycle: hazard analysis as part of requirements analysis; designing for safety; designing the human-machine interface; verification of safety in computer systems.

Programme availability:

CM50121 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science

CM50121 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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