The insufficiency of formal design methods

We highlight the limitations of formal methods by exhibiting two results in recursive function theory: that there is no effective means of finding a program that satisfies a given formal specification; or checking that a program meets a specification. We also exhibit a ‘simple’ MAS which has all the power of a Turing machine. We then argue that any ‘pure design’ methodology will face insurmountable difficulties in today’s open and complex MAS. Rather we suggest a methodology based on the classic experimental method – that is ‘scientific foundations’ for the construction and control of complex MAS.
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