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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Safety as a system property

When computers are used to control potentially dangerous devices, new issues and concerns are raised for software engineering. Simply focusing on building software that matches its specifications is not enough. Accidents occur even when the individual system components are highly reliable and have not “failed.” That is, accidents in complex systems often arise in the interactions among the system components, each one operating according to its specified behavior but together creating a hazardous system state.

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