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  1. Many organizations seek to increase their agility in order to deliver more timely and competitive products. However, in safety-critical systems such as medical devices, autonomous vehicles, or factory floor robots, the release of new features has the potential to introduce hazards that potentially lead to run-time failures that impact software safety. As a result, many projects suffer from a phenomenon referred to as the big freeze. SAFA is designed to address this challenge. Through the use of cutting-edge deep-learning solutions, it generates trees of requirements, designs, code, tests, and other artifacts that visually depict how hazards are mitigated in the system, and it automatically warns the user when key artifacts are missing. It also uses a combination of colors, annotations, and recommendations to dynamically visualize change across software versions and augments safety cases with visual annotations to aid users in detecting and analyzing potentially adverse impacts of change upon system safety. A link to our tool demo can be found at 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 10, 2023
  2. Recent breakthroughs in deep-learning (DL) approaches have resulted in the dynamic generation of trace links that are far more accurate than was previously possible. However, DL-generated links lack clear explanations, and therefore non-experts in the domain can find it difficult to understand the underlying semantics of the link, making it hard for them to evaluate the link's correctness or suitability for a specific software engineering task. In this paper we present a novel NLP pipeline for generating and visualizing trace link explanations. Our approach identifies domain-specific concepts, retrieves a corpus of concept-related sentences, mines concept definitions and usage examples, and identifies relations between cross-artifact concepts in order to explain the links. It applies a post-processing step to prioritize the most likely acronyms and definitions and to eliminate non-relevant ones. We evaluate our approach using project artifacts from three different domains of interstellar telescopes, positive train control, and electronic healthcare systems, and then report coverage, correctness, and potential utility of the generated definitions. We design and utilize an explanation interface which leverages concept definitions and relations to visualize and explain trace link rationales, and we report results from a user study that was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the explanation interface. Results show that the explanations presented in the interface helped non-experts to understand the underlying semantics of a trace link and improved their ability to vet the correctness of the link. 
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  3. Schmerl, Bradley R. ; Maggio, Martina ; Camara, Javier (Ed.)
    The MAPE-K feedback loop has been established as the primary reference model for self-adaptive and autonomous systems in domains such as autonomous driving, robotics, and Cyber-Physical Systems. At the same time, the Human Machine Teaming (HMT) paradigm is designed to promote partnerships between humans and autonomous machines. It goes far beyond the degree of collaboration expected in human-on-the-loop and human-in-the-loop systems and emphasizes interactions, partnership, and teamwork between humans and machines. However, while MAPE-K enables fully autonomous behavior, it does not explicitly address the interactions between humans and machines as intended by HMT. In this paper, we present the MAPE-K-HMT framework which augments the traditional MAPE-K loop with support for HMT. We identify critical human-machine teaming factors and describe the infrastructure needed across the various phases of the MAPE-K loop in order to effectively support HMT. This includes runtime models that are constructed and populated dynamically across monitoring, analysis, planning, and execution phases to support human-machine partnerships. We illustrate MAPE-KHMT using examples from an autonomous multi-UAV emergency response system, and present guidelines for integrating HMT into MAPE-K. 
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  4. Software traceability establishes a network of connections between diverse artifacts such as requirements, design, and code. However, given the cost and effort of creating and maintaining trace links manually, researchers have proposed automated approaches using information retrieval techniques. Current approaches focus almost entirely upon generating links between pairs of artifacts and have not leveraged the broader network of interconnected artifacts. In this paper we investigate the use of intermediate artifacts to enhance the accuracy of the generated trace links - focusing on paths consisting of source, target, and intermediate artifacts. We propose and evaluate combinations of techniques for computing semantic similarity, scaling scores across multiple paths, and aggregating results from multiple paths. We report results from five projects, including one large industrial project. We find that leveraging intermediate artifacts improves the accuracy of end-to-end trace retrieval across all datasets and accuracy metrics. After further analysis, we discover that leveraging intermediate artifacts is only helpful when a project's artifacts share a common vocabulary, which tends to occur in refinement and decomposition hierarchies of artifacts. Given our hybrid approach that integrates both direct and transitive links, we observed little to no loss of accuracy when intermediate artifacts lacked a shared vocabulary with source or target artifacts. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    With the rise of new AI technologies, autonomous systems are moving towards a paradigm in which increasing levels of responsibility are shifted from the human to the system, creating a transition from human-in-the-loop systems to human-on-the-loop (HoTL) systems. This has a significant impact on the safety analysis of such systems, as new types of errors occurring at the boundaries of human-machine interactions need to be taken into consideration. Traditional safety analysis typically focuses on system-level hazards with little focus on user-related or user-induced hazards that can cause critical system failures. To address this issue, we construct domain-level safety analysis assets for sUAS (small unmanned aerial systems) applications and describe the process we followed to explicitly, and systematically identify Human Interaction Points (HiPs), Hazard Factors and Mitigations from system hazards. We evaluate our approach by first investigating the extent to which recent sUAS incidents are covered by our hazard trees, and second by performing a study with six domain experts using our hazard trees to identify and document hazards for sUAS usage scenarios. Our study showed that our hazard trees provided effective coverage for a wide variety of sUAS application scenarios and were useful for stimulating safety thinking and helping users to identify and potentially mitigate human-interaction hazards. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
  7. null (Ed.)
    Runtime monitoring is essential for ensuring the safe operation and enabling self-adaptive behavior of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). It requires the creation of system monitors, instrumentation for data collection, and the definition of constraints. All of these aspects need to evolve to accommodate changes in the system. However, most existing approaches lack support for the automated generation and setup of monitors and constraints for diverse technologies and do not provide adequate support for evolving the monitoring infrastructure. Without this support, constraints and monitors can become stale and become less effective in long-running, rapidly changing CPS. In this ``new and emerging results'' paper we propose a novel framework for model-integrated runtime monitoring. We combine model-driven techniques and runtime monitoring to automatically generate large parts of the monitoring framework and to reduce the maintenance effort necessary when parts of the monitored system change. We build a prototype and evaluate our approach against a system for controlling the flights of unmanned aerial vehicles. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    Software traceability establishes and leverages associations between diverse development artifacts. Researchers have proposed the use of deep learning trace models to link natural language artifacts, such as requirements and issue descriptions, to source code; however, their effectiveness has been restricted by availability of labeled data and efficiency at runtime. In this study, we propose a novel framework called Trace BERT (T-BERT) to generate trace links between source code and natural language artifacts. To address data sparsity, we leverage a three-step training strategy to enable trace models to transfer knowledge from a closely related Software Engineering challenge, which has a rich dataset, to produce trace links with much higher accuracy than has previously been achieved. We then apply the T-BERT framework to recover links between issues and commits in Open Source Projects. We comparatively evaluated accuracy and efficiency of three BERT architectures. Results show that a Single-BERT architecture generated the most accurate links, while a Siamese-BERT architecture produced comparable results with significantly less execution time. Furthermore, by learning and transferring knowledge, all three models in the framework outperform classical IR trace models. On the three evaluated real-word OSS projects, the best T-BERT stably outperformed the VSM model with average improvements of 60.31% measured using Mean Average Precision (MAP). RNN severely underperformed on these projects due to insufficient training data, while T-BERT overcame this problem by using pretrained language models and transfer learning. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    Regulations, standards, and guidelines for safety-critical systems stipulate stringent traceability but do not prescribe the corresponding, detailed software engineering process. Given the industrial practice of using only semi-formal notations to describe engineering processes, processes are rarely ``executable'' and developers have to spend significant manual effort in ensuring that they follow the steps mandated by quality assurance. The size and complexity of systems and regulations makes manual, timely feedback from Quality Assurance (QA) engineers infeasible. In this paper we propose a novel framework for tracking processes in the background, automatically checking QA constraints depending on process progress, and informing the developer of unfulfilled QA constraints. We evaluate our approach by applying it to two different case studies; one open source community system and a safety-critical system in the air-traffic control domain. Results from the analysis show that trace links are often corrected or completed after the fact and thus timely and automated constraint checking support has significant potential on reducing rework. 
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