Compiler validation service launched for high reliability systems

October 12, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
UK safety critical software specialist Phaedrus Systems is launching a compiler validation service for high reliability designs backed by a library of supporting literature.

The service will be led by Olwen Morgan, who has over 40 years’ experience in software engineering, mostly in high-integrity and critical systems. Her experience in compiler validation dates back to the early 1980s when she worked on the joint BSI/NPL/NCC project to set up BSI's Pascal compiler validation service. She was among the first in the UK to perform compiler validations on microcomputers and prepared the final version of the User's Guide to the Pascal Compiler validation suite.

Later becoming involved with C, she oversaw the development of a suite of programs to test the error-handling behaviour of C compilers and has conducted several compiler validations for large organizations and with compiler developers. She was also the original author of the rules on which MISRA C was based. She continues as a consultant advising clients on software quality assurance in general and compiler validation in particular.

Compiler validation is essentially the highly controlled, repeatable and reproducible testing of a compiler using a validation suite , a recognised set of test programs. The purpose of such testing is to provide a reliable indication of how well a compiler complies with the standard for the language that it implements. Commercial validation suites are available and Phaedrus Systems distributes what it regards as the leader in the field, SuperTest from Solid Sands. However, validation is complex and, like much in software, benefits from previous experience, which is why Phaedrus Systems has developed a compiler validation service.compiler validation service launched

“To achieve certification for safety-critical and related applications it is usually necessary to demonstrate that the tools used in creating the software are themselves reliable,” said Chris Hills, CTO of Phaedrus Systems. “In the tool chain the compiler used plays a crucial role, but can be a weak link. Compiler validation is a process for indicating how well the compiler complies with the standard for the language it is implementing.”

Phaedrus Systems has also