ARM Offers Compiler Qualification Kit for Safety Applications

December 2, 2013. ARM today announced the ARM Compiler Qualification Kit, a documentation package specifically designed to help developers achieve certification against safety standards such as IEC 61508 and ISO 26262. The kit provides evidence of the robustness and maturity of the ARM compiler tool chain, saving months of effort for users who would otherwise have to create their own evidence for justifying their tool-chain selection.

The ARM Compiler tool chain is already used in an extensive range of products that are certified against safety standards, covering industrial control, automotive, railway, and medical applications. The ARM Compiler Qualification Kit can reduce the effort of certifying the software running on these types of products by providing usage guidelines for the safety-critical application developer and validation evidence demonstrating the appropriateness of the ARM Compiler tool chain for safety-related applications.

The Qualification Kit documentation can be used by the software developer, corporate safety manager, and the safety certification assessor as evidence that recommended best practices have been followed and that vendor developed test and defect reports have been analyzed with necessary mitigations put in place.

Users of tool chains that do not provide equivalent documentation face a longer, more expensive qualification process; either generating their own evidence,  or opting for third party certification, which typically lacks backing evidence or requires severe restrictions on tool-chain functionality. With the approach taken by the ARM Compiler Qualification Kit, developers of ARM-based safety applications can take advantage of code generated with high levels of compiler optimization.

“ARM processors are fast becoming the de facto standard in safety-related applications and trusted hardware as well as proven software development tools are equally important,” said Reinhard Keil, director, MCU Tools, ARM. “The ARM Compiler Qualification Kit reduces validation efforts and simplifies certification of safety-critical systems with extensive reports and practical user guidelines that avoid degrading compiler optimizations.”

The ARM Compiler Qualification Kit consists of the following documents:

  • Safety Manual, which informs the customer how to configure the tool chain for safety-related projects, including recommended use cases and mitigation strategies for potential errors.
  • Defect Report, which contains a listing of known defects and workarounds, whether found via internal testing or customer reported.
  • Test Report, which provides C language conformance test results, demonstrating that the compiler generates correct output based on ISO c90 and c99 C language conformant input.
  • Development Process Document, which provides a description of the internal software development process used to produce the tool chain, including procedures for requirements and defect management, procedures for configuration management, traceability between source code commits and defects or requirements, and validation procedures.

Once the tool chain has been qualified internally, long term maintenance is important to protect that investment. The optional ARM Compiler Extended Maintenance Program provides long-term maintenance releases to a fixed compiler branch for a minimum of five years, with longer terms available if needed.

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