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Formal methods can be cost-effective in the development of safety-critical software systems because the costs of system failure are very high and so additional cost in the development process is justified. Most safety-critical systems have to gain regulatory approval before they are used and it is a very expensive process to convince a regulator that a system is safe. The use of a formal specification and associated correctness argument may be less than the costs e.g. of additional testing to convince the regulator of the safety of the system.

Some developers of systems are against the use of formal methods because they are unfamiliar with the technology and unconvinced that a formal specification can be complete representation of the system. Furthermore, the problem with formal specifications are that they cannot be understood by system customers so they may conceal errors and give a false picture of the correctness of the system.

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