Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Wuwei Shen

Second Advisor

Dr. Fahad Saeed

Third Advisor

Dr. Bernard Han

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ralph Tanner


Assurance case, safety-critical systems, safety pattern, model transformation, model driven architecture


In the past decades, software development for mission critical applications has drawn great attention not only in various mission critical communities but also software engineering communities. One of the important reasons is that the failure of these systems can lead to some serious consequences such as huge financial loss and even loss of life. Therefore, software certification has become an important activity for mission critical applications in that software assurance for such a system should be certified. With the increasing complexity of a software system in mission critical sectors, certifiers have found hard time to understand how a software system has been developed to ensure software assurance. Assurance cases have been increasingly considered by many emerging standards and government guidelines as an important argument structure for software certification. An assurance case represents an argumentation structure which lays down all arguments made behind each step or activity during a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as well as the relevant artifacts as evidence. In this dissertation, we develop a framework, called SPIRIT, to aid the development and certification of mission critical applications for both system developer and certifier by means of the Model Driven Architecture (MDA). The SPIRIT framework is tripartite and consists of: i) a pattern-based assurance case generation via safety patterns to automatically support assurance cases, ii) maintenance of an assurance case, and iii) a confidence calculation that applies the Dempster- Shafer theory as a mathematical model to further deduce confidence of an assurance case for the certification purpose. As the results, the SPIRIT framework leverages both developers’ and certifiers’ capability as a means to develop assurance-based software development for mission critical applications.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access