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Fault Tolerance in Computing Systems

Code: PRODEI044     Acronym: TFSC

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Comp. Architectures, Operating and Networks Sys.

Instance: 2018/2019 - 2S

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Automation, Instrumentation and Control Section
Course/CS Responsible: Doctoral Program in Informatics Engineering

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
PRODEI 3 Syllabus 1 - 6 28 162

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Francisco Manuel Madureira e Castro Vasques de Carvalho

Teaching - Hours

Recitations: 2,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Recitations Totals 1 2,00
Paulo José Lopes Machado Portugal 1,00
Francisco Manuel Madureira e Castro Vasques de Carvalho 1,00

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


This course unit aims to trigger research works on the topic of Safety-Critical Computing Systems This course unit will cover notions related to safety, which are fundamental during the development life-cycle of Critical Systems. The main topics covered in this course include: a) the life-cycle phases for the development of safety critical systems, since its design and specification, to its certification, installation, maintenance and deactivation; b) Information about how to assess safety and how to determine the required measures to develop safety-critical computer systems; c) the available techniques to deal with critical safety aspects in computer systems and methodologies that can be used to improve its reliability.

Learning outcomes and competences

At the end of this course, it is expected that students will have consolidated their knowledge about: a) The need for a systemic approach to safety; b) The main software-based fault tolerance techniques; c) The main verification and validation guidelines for the reliable operation in Critical Systems.

Working method


Pre-requirements (prior knowledge) and co-requirements (common knowledge)

This course provides an introduction to safety-critical computer systems and assumes no prior knowledge about safety concepts, or any specific hardware or programming language.


Chapter 1 - Introduction to Critical Systems - Taxonomy - Presentation of relevant case studies related to safety - Safety criteria Chapter 2 - Development of safety-critical systems - Hazards analysis - Risk analysis Chapter 3 - Obtaining confidence: prevention, fault tolerance - Fault prevention - Quality management of Critical Systems - Development environments - Programming languages - Software fault tolerance: - Types of recovery - Techniques, Languages and Programming Environments - Diversion of Design/Implementation - Data diversity - Time diversity - Results adjudication Chapter 4 - Verification and validation of confidence: - Confidence modelling: basic concepts; - Modelling techniques: confidence blocks and fault trees - Software liability: fault prediction, error models, fault prediction models - HW/SW architecture modelling

Mandatory literature

Storey, Neil; Safety-critical computer systems. ISBN: 0-201-42787-7
Pullum, Laura L.; Software fault tolerance techniques and implementation. ISBN: 1-58053-137-7

Complementary Bibliography

Shooman, Martin L.; Realiability of computer systems and networks. ISBN: 0-471-29342-3
Rausand, Marvin; System reliability theory. ISBN: 0-471-47133-X
M. Xie; Software reliability modelling. ISBN: 981-02-0640-2
John Knight; Fundamentals of Dependable Computing for Software Engineers, Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2011. ISBN: 978-1439862551
The Motor Industry Software Reliability Association; MISRA-C 2004. ISBN: 0-9524156-2-3

Teaching methods and learning activities

Tutorial classes (weekly meetings with the students, with the allocation of research assignments for each topic).


Technological sciences > Engineering > Computer engineering

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Trabalho escrito 100,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Frequência das aulas 12,00
Trabalho de investigação 150,00
Total: 162,00

Eligibility for exams

Delivering the research assignments for each topic of the program.

Calculation formula of final grade

Assessment of the delivered documents for each research assignment.

Examinations or Special Assignments


Internship work/project


Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

Students with a special status have to do all the assignments and deliver them on the scheduled date.

Classification improvement

Improvement of Continuous Assessment: following year

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