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IEEE UK and Ireland Section’s traditional annual Christmas Lecture will be held on 15th December 2023 (14:00-18:00 including drinks and mince pies) at the iconic Regent Street Cinema in London; the home for our Section Christmas events for many years.  Recent past events can be watched again: 2022, 2021, 2020 (virtual)20192018, and 2017.

This year we are honoured to have the Christmas lecture presented by Dr Philippe Palanque, Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier and Head of Reliable Systems and Software Department at the “Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse” (IRIT) in France.

This is an in-person event and is open to both members and non-members.


The operator is frequently considered as the main sources of vulnerability in command and control systems; for example, in a 2006 survey 79% of fatal accidents in aviation were attributed to “human error.” Beyond the case of command-and-control systems, users’ faults occur not only at use time but also during the design and development of systems.

Following Avizienis et al.’s taxonomy of faults, human-made error can be characterised as the operator’s failure to deliver services while interacting with the interactive system. Non human-made errors are called natural faults and may occur inside the interactive system (during its development) as well as within the users during its use.

Focusing on interactive systems specificities, this presentation provides a comprehensive description of faults covering both development and operation phases. In correspondence with this taxonomy, we present mechanisms to avoid, remove, tolerate and mitigate faults in order to design and develop what we call “perfect” interactive systems, taking into account the organization, the interactive system, the environment and the people operating them. We define an interactive system as perfect when it blends multiple and diverse properties such as usability, security, user experience, dependability, learnability, resilience … We present multiple concrete examples, from aviation, space and other domains, of faults affecting socio-technical systems and associated fault-tolerant mechanisms.

About the Speaker

Dr Philippe Palanque is a Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier and is head of the Reliable Systems and Software department at the “Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse” (IRIT) in France.

Since the late 80s he has been working on the development and application of formal description techniques to interactive systems. He has worked for more than 20 years on research projects to improve interactive Ground Segment Systems at the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and was also involved in the development of software architectures and user interface modeling for interactive cockpits in large civil aircraft (funded by Airbus).

The main driver of Philippe’s research over the last 20 years has been to address in an even way Usability, Safety and Dependability in order to build trustable safety critical interactive systems. As for conferences he is a member of the program committee of conferences in these domains such as SAFECOMP 2023 (42nd conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security) and was co-chair of ACM CHI 2014 (32nd conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems).

Until 2023 he was the chair of the IFIP Technical Assembly and is a member of ACM CHI academy.

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