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Formal methods: mathematics, computer science or software engineering?

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1 Author(s)
Tremblay, G. ; Dept. d''Inf., Quebec Univ., Montreal, Que., Canada

Formal methods courses have been taught at Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM), Montreal, PQ, Canada, since 1996. In the graduate program, the course was initially an INF course (computer science) and later became an MGL one (software engineering), On the other hand, until recently, the undergraduate formal methods course was a MAT course (mathematics). From these various affiliations, one can be lead to the following question regarding formal methods: are they part of mathematics, computer science, or software engineering? This paper tries to shed some light on this question. First, the major characteristics of these various disciplines are presented. UQAM students' background is also examined to see to which discipline they belong. Then, what are formal methods and how they fit in the software development life cycle is briefly explained. An outline of the formal methods courses that have been taught over the last few years is then presented, followed by an informal assessment of these courses.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 4 )