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MISRA-Matters Column
Autmun 2010

Three invitations to Join MISRA.

By Chris Hills

Chris Hills


Hopefully you all had a good break over the summer, what there was of it!  The industry is getting started again, the show season is about to kick off and so is MISRA.  We have three invitations to extend to you.


The first is an invitation to the MISRA conference. See http://www.scsc.org.uk/  This is being run in association with the Safety Critical Systems Club in London 24th and 25th of November.   Please note it may be London but the location (the Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel) is about a minutes walk from Euston and 2 minutes from Kings Cross/St Pancras. I know I have done it.  Take the train and it is a breeze to get to.
Alongside the seminar will be an exhibition by the leading vendors of code analysers, compilers along with other MISRA and safety-related tools.


Whilst the full title of the conference is “Using the MISRA Guidelines to Support Safety-Related Systems Development: Tutorials and a seminar” the speakers such as Mike Hennel of LDRA, Clive Pygot formerly of QinetiQ and Steve Montgomery, chair of the MISRA C Working Group and formerly director of control systems software at Ricardo, have been at the painful end of real world projects (which is why they are on MISRA committees). The conference will be of real practical interest to working engineers as well as team and project leaders. 


The first day will have tutorials on key concepts in the C and C++ guidelines directly from the working group members responsible for creating them.  The presenters have experience in the committee formulating the new DO-178C avionics standard and over 20 years assessing safety and security critical software for a major defence contractor as well as leading edge work in the automotive industry.


This mix of experience highlights the fact that the input for the MISRA committees is as diverse as the industries it is used in. It is no longer an “automotive” standard. Indeed the seminar on November 25th will include presentations showing how the MISRA guidelines can be used in real-life safety-related systems in a range of industries (e.g. automotive, aviation, embedded systems and gas detection equipment).  


However…. The MISRA rules for C and C++ work well on any C or C++ project not just the safety critical projects.  Using a language subset and static analysis should drastically reduce bugs long before the testing phase. This saves time and money.  Now what project would not benefit from that?


There will also be discussions on other key topics and issues arising from MISRA’s work.  This makes the conference extremely useful as you can ask those who devised the rules exactly how they intended them to be used. This sort of face to face interaction is invaluable and well worth the cost of attending.


A few moments discussion could save many hours.  Ask your company accountant what your time is worth to the company. It is usually two or three times your salary.  Ask marketing the value in sales for getting the project out on time (or less late!) and a more reliable system.


Also your feedback on the MISRA standards would be most welcome. You can get a chance to explain your gripes and wish list. In fact it is interaction with and feedback from working engineers on real projects that is so important in making the MISRA standards relevant in industry.  


This leads me to our next invitations. Two MISRA working groups are looking for additional members.  These are MISRA C++ and the MISRA Autocode Targetlink teams. 


For MISRA C++ we are looking for people with real world C++ experience preferably in high integrity or high reliability systems, usually embedded systems. I.e. not infotainment systems. Though if you see the fuss my wife makes if the car radio goes off during the Archers Omnibus you may be forgiven for thinking life depends on it!!


As mentioned MISRA escaped from being purely automotive long ago so a background in any industry such as aerospace, automotive, industrial control, instrumentation, medical etc is welcomed.  


However be warned, unlike some standards groups there is no room for passengers and although the teams are small (typically 8-12 people) they have 85 to 100 percent attendance over the last decade.  Meetings are usually held near MIRA at Nuneaton. If you are interested please sent your CV to Chris Tapp at chairman@misra-cpp.com


The Autocode group are looking for people who have in-depth experience in dSPACE TargetLink or The Mathworks Real-Time Workshop Embedded Coder.  They are particularly interested in hearing from those with experience of using these tools to take generated code right through to production release, adhering to the likes of IEC61508, DO-178B or MISRA C standards along the way.


Historically Autocode group meetings tend to have more teleconferences as input has been from across Europe from day one.  So location is less of an issue for this team. Please send your Cv to chair-AC@misra-c.org


All those who get involved have said they have learnt a hell of a lot from being on the teams. As there is such a wide range of experience in many fields, MISRA has long ago ceased to be purely automotive, everyone learns something new.  This can more than make up for the time spent at the meetings.  Also there is the informal chat on industry and technical news over lunch.


Well that’s it for another MISRA Matters. Hopefully the next one will have a report on the Conference in November.  The next conference is not likely to be until 2012 so grab this one whilst it’s there.

Any comments, praise or death threats for the author to, Chris Hills, at chills@phaedsys.com




Eur Ing Chris Hills BSc CEng MIET MBCS MIEEE  FRGS   FRSA is a Technical Specialist and can be reached at This Contact


Copyright Chris A Hills  2003 -2010
The right of Chris A Hills to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988