IFE's expertise includes both general software engineering and industry-specific competence related to systems, standards and terminology in various industries. The overall objective of the work is to contribute to a successful introduction of software-based systems for safety-related applications in various industries.
Because of the life cycle-oriented approach to the subject, IFE’s research activities cover development, assurance, approval, and deployment of software based systems. A common denominator for many of the activities is the need to demonstrate that the system is safe to use. In many cases this is done through a safety case, whose purpose is to provide a documented demonstration that safety requirements are established on a satisfactory basis and implemented in the current system. The focus on documentation of safety helps to link the various research tasks together and orient them towards the essential issues and challenges related to the introduction of software-based systems for safety-related applications.
The focus on safety-related applications means that IFE’s work in software engineering is to a large extent related to the use of international standards for developing software systems for such applications. Through active participation in the development and revision of such standards, IFE has first-hand knowledge of the standards in the area, and also influences their development. On the basis of competence related to the field and relevant standards, IFE assists through this research with guidance and recommendations on the use of standards, and with the development and evaluation of relevant processes, methods, techniques and tools. These activities, along with industry-specific knowledge and experience, put IFE in a position to provide software engineering assistance in areas like nuclear energy, railway, aviation and petroleum, and to contribute to knowledge transfer between the various industries.