by Alessandro Fantechi
Following an initial successful workshop bringing together ERCIM members interested in formal verification, held in Pisa in December 1992, Stefania Gnesi and Diego Latella, CNR, Pisa, proposed the creation of an ERCIM Working Group dedicated to Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems (FMICS). Although at that time, model checking was in its early days, the early ERCIM FMICS community was already aware of the great potential of formal verification techniques.
Since then, the WG, chaired in succession by Latella (ISTI-CNR), Hubert Garavel (INRIA), Gnesi (ISTI) and Pedro Merino (SpaRCIM), has kept pace with the development of formal verification techniques - and model checking in particular. The series of annual workshops, begun in 1996 and sponsored by the WG, have promoted an ongoing scientific discussion focussed on identifying the most efficient verification techniques, with a keen eye on their industrial applicability. Most of the members of the FMICS community have strong links with industry and have thus contributed to the slow, but constant introduction of formal methods in the development cycle of industrial critical systems witnessed in the last decade.
The WG has also addressed other readily applicable verification techniques, such as static analysis by abstract interpretation. Similarly, the whole formal development life cycle has been addressed, for example in the 2008 FMICS workshop, where considerable attention was paid to the recent diffusion of Model Driven Development in industry.
ERCIM News 75 hosted a joint special session edited by Pedro Merino, coordinator of the WG, and Erwin Schoitsch, coordinator of the DES Dependable Embedded System WG, featuring almost 30 articles, many of which reporting advances on the application of formal methods in industry.
The FMICS workshop series has always been open to contributions from outside the ERCIM community, and strong links have been maintained with other organizations, such as Formal Methods Europe. In November 2009, the FMICS workshop will be held during the FM week, a special gathering of events organized this year by the FME association.
Alessandro Fantechi Chair FMICS WG
University of Florence and ISTI-CNR