Incremental Assurance Through Eliminative Argumentation


  • Simon Diemert Critical Systems Labs Inc.
  • John B. Goodenough Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute
  • Jeff Joyce Critical Systems Labs Inc.
  • Charles B. Weinstock Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute



assurance cases, confidence, eliminative, argumentation, goal structuring notation


An assurance case for a critical system is valid for that system at a particular point in time, such as when the system is delivered to a certification authority for review. The argument is structured around evidence that exists at that point in time. However, modern assurance cases are rarely one-off exercises. More information might become available (e.g., field data) that could strengthen (or weaken) the validity of the case. This paper proposes the notion of incremental assurance wherein the assurance case structure includes both the currently available evidence and a plan for incrementally increasing confidence in the system as additional or higher quality evidence becomes available. Such evidence is needed to further reduce doubts engineers or reviewers might have. This paper formalizes the idea of incremental assurance through an argumentation pattern. The concept of incremental assurance is demonstrated by applying the pattern to part of a safety assurance case for an air traffic control system.

Author Biography

Simon Diemert, Critical Systems Labs Inc.

Critical Systems Labs Inc., Vancouver, BC, Canada
University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada


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2023-02-22 — Updated on 2023-03-03


How to Cite

Diemert, S., Goodenough, J., Joyce, J., & Weinstock, C. (2023). Incremental Assurance Through Eliminative Argumentation. Journal of System Safety, 58(1), 7–15. (Original work published February 22, 2023)