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Pacemaker Formal Methods Challenge

See the Pacemaker FAQ for detailed questions about the requirements, hardware or pacemakers in general.

See below for What's New, an Intro, etc.

What's New?

  • Nov. 1, 2009: A pre-FM2009 workshop on the paceamaker challenge is being held in Eindhoven, NL to review the present state of the Pacemaker challenge and prepare to make it a major part of FM2011. The workshop is in the main auditorium building on the TU Eindhoven Campus, room Room 11.
  • Oct 22, 2008: A web page has been set up containing updates on the VDM work on the Pacemaker.
  • Oct 6, 2008: Of the initial run of 50 hardware reference platform, 17 remain available for purchase. Get yours while they are still available, otherwise you'll have to make your own or hope for a 2nd production run.
  • Sept 15, 2008: John Fitzgerald gave an invited talk about the Pacemaker Challenge to the VSR-net day held at the ABZ conference in London. John's slides are available Here. There was a positive response to the talk (plus a discussion about certification evidence) and John hope to arrange a workshop for those wanting to contribute at the latest early in 2009, probably at Newcastle University, UK.
  • Sept 15, 2008: The pacemaker challenge has been adopted by Alan Wassyng of McMaster's Department of Computing and Software for the course SFWR ENG 3K04 SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT that is taught to 3rd year undergraduate Mechatronics Engineering and Electrical Engineering students.
  • Aug 20, 2008: Hardware Reference Platform boards are now available at a cost of $350/board + shipping. Send an email to Mark Lawford to request boards.
  • July 22, 2008: Mark Lawford presented "The Pace Maker Challenge" at the Real-time and Embedded System Forum (RTES) Member Meeting of the Open Group Conference, Chicago, IL. This presentation documents the experience from using the Pacemaker Challenge in the senior thesis course for the Undergraduate Software Engineering Students at McMaster University.
  • May 29, 2008: At FM2008 the paper "Incremental Development of a Distributed Real-Time Model of a Cardiac Pacing System using VDM" by Hugo Daniel Macedo, Peter Gorm Larsen and John Fitzgerald was presented. The paper documents the authors progress on Pacemaker Challenge. The full paper is available here.
  • Nov 23, 2007: Pacemaker chosen as one of the ICSE 2009 Student COntest in softwaRe Engineering (SCORE 2009) problems. See for details!


The Pacemaker Grand Challenge is the first certification challenge problem issued by the Software Certification Consortium (SCC). It is being hosted by the McMaster University's Software Quality Research Lab (SQRL). More detailed documentation on the Pacemaker Challenge can be found at SQRL.

Who's Involved in the Pacemaker Challenge

The Software Certification Consortium has formed a panel to create submission guidelines and judge submission. Current panel members are:

Panelist Position Institution
Rick Chapman General Engineer Division of Electrical and Software Engineering Office of Science & Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices & Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Brian Larson Research Scientist Boston Scientific
Mark Lawford Associate Professor Software Quality Research Lab (SQRL), McMaster University
David Tremaine CEO Systemware Innovation (SWI)
Alan Wassyng Associate Professor Software Quality Research Lab (SQRL), McMaster University

People who are known to be working on the Pacemaker Challenge:

Researcher Institution Country Involvement
John Fitzgerald School of Computing Science, Newcastle University UK Purchased board, Wrote paper about the pacemaker at FM2008
Insup Lee Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Pennsylvania USA Purchased boards, member of SCC
Dennis Peters Electrical and Computer Engineering, Memorial University of Newfoundland Canada Purchased boards

Pacemaker Hardware Reference Platform

The hardware reference platform, developed by students at the University of Minnesota, is based upon an 8-bit PIC18F4520 microcontroller. It include analog filtering for the input signals from the atrial and ventricle as well as programmable resistors to set the sense thresholds and pace amplitude, external 16 bit A/D converters to allow real-time ECG data to be transmitted from the board, a magnetic reed switch (for magnet mode) , a MAX232 for RS-232 serial communication with a PC acting as a Device Controller-Monitor (DCM) and an accelerometer for rate adaptive modes.

A number of the parts used in the original design are not readliy available so we have update the design and produced 5 prototype boards for testing that were used at McMaster University for the Software Engineering Senior Thesis course. We have now produced an additional 45 board for sale at cost (approx. $350 CDN + shipping) to interested students, researchers and industry people. The boards come with cables to connect directly to a Microchip ICD2 or PICKit2 programmer. You will need to supply your own 12V DC/150+mA Power supply and serial cable.

See the Pacemaker Hardware Reference Platform Details for schematic, Bill Of Materials (BOM) and other details.

Send an email to Mark Lawford to request boards.

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