NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Software Engineering Technologies for Human-Rated Spacecraft
PROPOSAL TITLE:Static Detection of Bugs in Embedded Software using Lightweight Verification

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Grammatech Inc
315-317 N. Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850-4201
(607) 273-7340

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ray   Teitelbaum
315-317 N. Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY  14850-4201
(607) 273-7340

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Validating software is a critical step in developing high confidence systems. Typical software development practices are not acceptable in systems where failure leads to loss of life or other high costs. New software development tools are needed to radically reduce defect rates and enable the high levels of confidence required for safety- and security-critical systems. Lightweight verification techniques have proven themselves effective in finding defects in large software systems by balancing rigor with scalability and usability. Lightweight verification techniques do not exhaustively check software, but they can find defects in systems that are too large for more rigorous analysis techniques, and are fast becoming an essential tool for software developers. The techniques generally fail to address key sources of problems specific to embedded systems: paths due to asynchronous transfer of control or context switches between tasks are not considered; assembly language components are ignored; it is hard to detect violations of domain-specific rules. We propose to extend and adapt our static analysis technology to make it capable of addressing these problems. We will exploit our existing connections with NASA facilities to gain help validating our approach and to ensure that the solution we propose is responsive to NASA's unique needs.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The results of this research are expected to be of immediate use to NASA. Our existing CodeSonar and CodeSurfer tools are already in use in several facilities, including JSC, KRC, GRC, and IV&V. They are being used for code understanding and inspections, and for finding flaws in both flight and ground software. Improvements to the technology developed under this proposal are expected to improve the recall and precision of the flaw-detection capabilities, thus allowing users to find more flaws, more accurately, and in less time. These improvements will be funneled into the product line, thereby benefiting users at these locations quickly. Our existing connections with these NASA facilities will be exploited during the course of the project to help us make sure that our solutions are relevant to NASA.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Lightweight verification tools such as CodeSonar are becoming increasingly popular in many industrial sectors, especially those concerned with developing high-confidence real-time embedded software. This includes communications, military/aerospace, medical devices, automotive, finance, security, and others. If successful, the technology we propose to develop will provide the capability to find more serious flaws in such software than current approaches, thereby cutting development costs and increasing code quality.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Software Development Environments
Testing Requirements and Architectures

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19