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1 School of Computing Science Newcastle

Abstract : Modern computer-based systems pose a huge challenge to designers if they are to achieve dependability of the delivered service. These challenges are recognised for safety-critical systems such as medical devices, industrial process supervision workstations or autopilots. But even for systems where life is in not at stake, the need for properties like reliability, security, maintainability is becoming ever more pressing. Historically, a combination of methods derived from the purely technical fields of computing science, mathematics and statistics were used to provide some form of guarantee that the overall system will behave as prescribed. Human considerations were not totally overlooked from such approaches, but the increasingly intimate connection between the purely technical system and the humans surrounding it requires a more explicit consideration of psychological and social dimensions. Such questions as -Can users revert to manual mode?-; -Are the security features usable?-; -Does the system match established practices?- become crucial to the success of the overall computer-based system. We outline an overview of the relevance of these questions in the workplace and emphasize the interest of an interdisciplinary approach to computer-based systems. We will draw on the wisdom acquired in a major interdisciplinary project to shed some light on the need for non-IT disciplines and their contribution to the understanding of dependability.

Autor: Denis Besnard - Cliff Jones -



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