Practitioners Views on the Use of Formal Methods: An Industrial Survey by Structured Interview

Colin Snook
Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom.

Rachel Harrison
School of Computer Science, Cybernetics & Electronic Engineering,
University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AY, UK


There is a recognised deficiency in the level of empirical investigation of software engineering methods. This deficiency is particularly acute in the area of formal methods, where reports about the usefulness of such methods vary widely. We interviewed several experienced formal methods users about many aspects of software engineering including the effects on the company, its products and its development processes as well as pragmatic issues such as scalability, understandability and tool support. The interviews are a first stage of empirical assessment. Future work will investigate some of the issues raised using formal experimentation and case studies.