Re: over-automation with glass cockpits

From: (Francis JAMBON)
Organization: CLIPS-IMAG, Grenoble, France
Date:         05 Aug 96 04:21:21 
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In article (Dans l'article) <airliners.1996.1567@ohare.Chicago.COM>, (don shifris) wrote (crivait):

>My other concern is over 'bugs' in this stuff. I have worked in the
>computer industry for a long time. People are taught to solve specific
>problems in specific ways. The Airbus approach is to use seperate teams,
>and seperate hardware to insure this doesn't happen. The problem is that
>since these people tend to be educated the same way, they tend to solve
>the problem the same way, so it is very likely that the same, possibly
>bad, underlying assumption were used in all solutions. I produced a disk
>driver for a super minicomputer to address a specific problem. The
>manufacturer also produced a disk driver to solve the same problem. Anyone
>who looked at the resultant machine code would have concluded that the
>same person wrote both. I never did find out who wrote their version, but
>I never communicated with him. Food for thought.

Airbus use a very clever way (IMO) to solve this. Each (of three) FBW
computer are made of two computers of differents architectures : one with
a Motorola (68000 maybe), the other one with an Intel (8086 or 8088 ?).
The two parts of the computers are made by differents teams and, to avoid
communication between the teams, different manufacturers : Thomson and

For the software I do not remember, but I think that they have used the
same principe, the two softwares use different languages, different teams,
different manufacturers.

What airbus wants to avoid is "common failures" on the two computers, on
the same time. These method are not used by all manufacturers, for example
the fighter Rafale build bay Dassault have two identical computer with
identical software for performance. They use formal specification and some
proofs to made them. Never forget that in a fighter you may use the
ejectable seat :-)

Francis JAMBON

Equipe Ingenierie des Interfaces Homme-Machine          Tel : (+33) 76 63 59 70
Human-Computer Interfaces Engineering Group             Fax : (+33) 76 44 66 75
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