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GE Aviation Adopts Robust Software Engineering Testing Tool

Under Space Act Agreement with GE Global Research Center (GE GRC), Joachim Hochwarth and Nicholas Visser (GE Aviation engineers) have conducted a study using AdaStress (AST), an adaptive stress testing tool developed by Dr. Ritchie Lee in the Robust Software Engineering (RSE) group under the System Wide Safety (SWS) project funding in the Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP), under the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). AdaStress uses AI techniques to perform “smarter” testing and discover subtle errors in complex applications. In this case, AdaStress was applied successfully to a new Flight Management System (FMS) by GE Aviation engineers with the support of Dr. Lee. The research and results have been submitted for publication at the 2020 Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC 2020).

Our GE GRC collaborator, Jerry Lopez, reports that AdaStress discovered “rare errors in FMS software” and that “GE Aviation was very impressed with the work and the results [they] got and they intend to continue to use the AST capability as part of their FMS testing strategy.” This tool infusion is another success story for the Verification and Validation (V&V) tools being developed in RSE under SWS funding for aviation and space applications.

BACKGROUND: V&V of aviation systems can be a very difficult task, yet a necessary one for the safety of anybody flying the current generation of planes. This is why NASA, and in particular the RSE group in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center, entered into Space Act Agreement (#403098) in 2016 with GE’s GRC. This agreement has allowed GE to try RSE-developed V&V tools on some of the systems they are developing and gauge if they are ready for infusion in GE business units.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: System-wide Safety (SWS) project, Airspace Operations and Safety Program (AOSP), Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)

POINTS OF CONTACT: Ritchie Lee, ritchie.lee@nasa.gov; Guillaume Brat, guillaume.p.brat@nasa.gov

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