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Case studies

Videos are available on YouTube and for download to your own computer. For the moment, downloads are limited to students and staff from St Andrews University but the intention is to make downloads publicly available in the near future.

Cybersecurity and resilience

The Maroochy water breach (video(YouTube), video (download)slides)
A cybersecurity incident that led to the spillage of sewage in a region of Australia.

The Stuxnet worm (video (YouTube), video (download)slides)
A case study of cyberwarfare where a computer worm was used to attack the SCADA control systems of a uranium processing plant in Iran.

Reliability engineering

Airbus 330/340 flight control system - software and hardware redundancy (video(YouTube), video (download), slides)
Explains how redundancy and diversity is used in the flight control system of Airbus aircraft to ensure reliability and availability.

The Ariane 5 launcher explosion (video(YouTube), video (download), slides)
Explains how the software failure in a reused subsystem led to the failure of the Ariane launch vehicle on its first flight.

Safety engineering

The 1993 Warsaw Airbus accident (video (YouTube), video (download), slides)
Explains how software in the braking control system on the Airbus operated as specified but not in a safe way. It shows reliable systems can be unsafe.


This article is an accessible description of the Stuxnet worm that attacked nuclear processing facilities in Iran.

The Maroochy Shire Incident, Australia 2000
This article describes the sequence of events leading to the failure of a sewage system in Australia and the subsequent discovery of malicious attacks on the system.

Ariane 5: Who Dunnit? B. Nuseibeh, IEEE Software, 14 (3), 1997.
A short article that explains the complex causes of the failure of the Ariane 5 software in the inertial navigation system.

The enquiry report after the accident that sets out the (complex) causes of the accident and discusses how the software behaviour was a contributory factor to this.

I discuss the design of the Airbus FCS in more detail in my book (Software Engineering, 9th edition) Chapter 13.