The University of Southampton

Better software design for planes, trains and cars

Published: 4 February 2011

New software which will improve how products are modelled and designed in the embedded software industry has just been released by researchers at the University of Southampton.

Professor Michael Butler, Head of Group in Dependable Systems and Software Engineering at the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) has led the release of a new prototype tool which automatically generates software code from high-level models. A second tool, a theory plug-in, will take product modelling to a more advanced stage.

The tools are part of DEPLOY - Industrial Deployment of Advanced System Engineering Methods for High Productivity, a European Commission Information and Technologies FP7 Project. It involves academia and industry working together up to February 2012 to improve industrial development processes which will meet the engineering demands of future systems.

Academic partners – University of Southampton, University of Newcastle, Aabo Akademi University, ETH Zurich, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf - are working with Bosch, Siemens Transportation Systems, Space Systems Finland, SAP, CETIC, ClearSy and Systerel to enable industry to meet more rigorous certification processes.

There is a growing awareness of the importance of formal modelling in the industrial certification process,” says Professor Butler. “Software is a vital component of most modern systems yet software engineering is still quite immature in comparison to more established engineering fields. Industry is starting to realise that if they use modelling tools, they can reduce errors in the design of software products and improve reliability.”

The software toolkit, named Rodin, is open source and was initially developed in the EU FP6 Rigorous Open Development Environment for Complex Systems (RODIN) project 2004-2007. It is now being exploited further in DEPLOY.

The new releases: The Rodin tools, including the new Theory plug-in and Code Generation plug-in can be downloaded at:


If you are interested in undertaking PhD research in the Dependable Systems and Software Engineering research group you can find more information on our Postgraduate Admissions pages.

For more information on this new story contact Joyce Lewis; tel +44(0)23 8059 5453

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