ARM speeds safety-certified applications with Compiler Qualification kit

December 03, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
A kit simplifies compiler qualification when creating functionally safe systems; the ARM Compiler Qualification Kit is 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 toolchain, saving months of effort for users who would otherwise have to create their own evidence for justifying their toolchain selection.

The ARM Compiler toolchain 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 toolchain 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 analysed with necessary mitigations put in place.

Users of toolchains 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 toolchain 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 optimisation.

The ARM Compiler Qualification Kit consists of the following documents:

1. Safety Manual - The Safety Manual informs the customer how to configure the toolchain for safety-related projects, including recommended use cases and mitigation strategies for potential errors.

2. Defect Report - The Defect Report contains a listing of known defects and workarounds, whether found via internal testing or customer reported.

3. Test Report - The Test Report provides C language conformance test results, demonstrating that the compiler generates correct output based on ISO c90 and c99 C language conformant input.

4. Development Process Document - The Development Process document provides a description of the internal