The SCSC celebrates its 30th Anniversary!
It’s remarkable to think that we are now embarking on the 30th volume of the SCSC newsletter, and this month sees the SCSC host its 30th Safety-Critical Systems Symposium (and there’s still time to reg-ister for the event being held in Bristol and online scsc.uk/e797!)
The club has certainly come a long way in those three decades; it’s interesting that many of the standards that are very familiar to us now, like DO-178 and IEC-61508, simply weren’t in existence when the club had its inaugural meeting in 1991. Given the unsurpassed attendance at that meeting, there was clearly acknowledgement that there was work to be done, but I suspect there was great uncertainty in what that work was, and what the future had in store. Nevertheless, the club has undoubtedly contributed to a safer world, not only in sharing knowledge of current best practice in system safety, but also in shaping what best practice actually looks like. All of which is certainly a cause for celebration!
The theme for this anniversary edition of the newsletter could be expressed as ‘Back to the Future’, taking both a backward and forward look at system safety. We will therefore, reflect on the journey the club has taken since its inception along with other historical and more personal accounts, and also look to the future; setting out ideas on how the club could position itself to shape and ensure safer systems for the next 30 years.
Our series of backward-looking articles begins with Tom Anderson and Joan Atkinson, who were key to running the club for most of the club’s lifetime. They reflect on the last 30 years of the SCSC and share some history of its formation and entertaining memories of the club’s activities and events. This is complemented with an article from Brian Jepson, our webmas-ter, who describes the evolution of the SCSC website. Stan Price also reflects on his own personal journey in system safety through the years, from those early times when the dependency on computers for safe operations in aircraft was only just being realised.
Our series of forward-looking articles begin with an article from Prof. John McDermid, describing his vision for the role and scope of safety engineering and assurance in a world where wider issues such as ethics and sustainability can no longer be considered separately from traditional safety engineering concerns. John Ridgway presents his vision of the future of Human Factors in his article, and we conclude with a more speculative look at what the future holds as predicted by some of the SCSC Steering Group members.
We also have reports from events held last year on the quantification of risk and the safe use of multicore, and Zoe Garstang provides an update from the Safety Futures Initiative – helping develop the engineers that will be making systems safer over the next three decades.
The future is, perhaps, less murky than it was all those years ago; this gives us more em-powerment to shape it, but it also means we are troubled by what we see ahead, especially in relation to wider issues such as climate change. We have come a long way but there is still a long way to go, and there certainly is still much work to be done.
Paul Hampton SCSC Newsletter Editor