Mon 11 March 2019

MIT Doctor delivers Manchester masterclass on innovative safety methodology

by Tim Pockney , 2019 , Tags safety safety engineering STPA STAMP trustable software masterclass

Systems are becoming more complex than ever before. This now allows us to accomplish tasks that once seemed impossible. With this increase in complexity from systems, there is a need for safety models that can keep up.

STAMP (System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes) is an accident and causality model based on systems theory. Although traditional approaches have been around for significantly longer than STAMP, it is well grounded in almost twenty years of research and gaining attention from the wider community.

STAMP also adopts a forward thinking, top-down approach, to deal with the complex systems, even those that are software-intensive (e.g. autonomous self-driving cars). Instead of focusing on aspects of individual components within a system and potential areas for concern, the model looks at the larger picture and how the components interact with each other and moving inwards. STAMP integrates causal factors into engineering analysis including human decision making and other factors, which are becoming more important in technology.

STAMP was developed by Prof. Nancy Leveson of MIT, as described in her book, “Engineering a Safer World”. The method has been increasingly adopted in the space, aviation, defence and automotive sectors. The method is delivered to students across the engineering school by Nancy and Dr John Thomas.

John will be in Manchester to deliver an abbreviated version of their class, currently taught to MIT students across the entire school of engineering. The class presents an opportunity to gain deep understanding of an established safety methodology that is able to account for the complexity of modern systems that traditional approaches to safety are beginning to struggle with.

The masterclass will run from 8th-11th April on the subject of STAMP and introduce the top-down approach that it adopts, STPA and integrating safety and security in complex systems, among other topics.

The opportunity to take part in the masterclass by Dr Thomas in the UK is a rare one.

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