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Formal specifications are very effective in discovering those specification problems that are the most common causes of system failure. Formal verification is impractical for large systems, but it can be used to verify critical-safety and security-critical components.

Verifying large software systems takes a much time and requires mathematical expertise and specialized software tools. It is therefore an expensive process and, as the system size increases, the costs of formal verification increase disproportionately. Therefore many software engineers think that the formal verification is not cost effective. They believe that the same level of confidence can be achieved more cheaply by using other validation techniques, such as inspections and system testing.

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