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We present a novel approach for analysing the propagation of data errors in software. The concept of error permeability is introduced as a basic measure upon which we define a set of related measures. These measures guide us in the process of analysing the vulnerability of software to find the modules that are most likely exposed to propagating errors. Based on the analysis performed with error permeability and its related measures, we describe how to select suitable locations for error detection mechanisms (EDMs) and error recovery mechanisms (ERMs). A method for experimental estimation of error permeability, based on fault injection, is described and the software of a real embedded control system analysed to show the type of results obtainable by the analysis framework. The results show that the developed framework is very useful for analysing error propagation and software vulnerability and for deciding where to place EDMs and ERMs.
Date of Conference: 1-4 July 2001