Speaker Name Prof. Ali Hessami
Title Systems Safety, Security & Sustainability


Dr. Ali is currently the Director of R&D and Innovation at Vega Systems, UK. He is an expert in the systems assurance and safety, security, sustainability and knowledge assessment/management methodologies and has a background in design and development of advanced control systems for business and safety critical industrial applications.

Ali project managed the safety analysis and assessment of European Rail Traffic Management System’s ETCS for the EU Commission under the ESROG project. He also project managed the development of an advanced and systematic Safety & Risk Management System for EU Commission under SAMRail project, in support of the pan European Railway Safety Directive. He contributed significant original material to CENELEC WGA10 Report TR-50451 on Allocation of Safety Integrity & TR-50506-1 on the Cross-Acceptance of Signalling Systems. He represents UK on CENELEC & IEC safety systems, hardware & software standards committees. He was appointed by CENELEC as convenor of WGA11 for review of EN50128 Software Safety Standard and Convener of RG3 in WG14, where he is responsible for update and restructuring of the software, hardware and system safety standards in CENELEC. Ali also heads the System Safety & Security Technical Committee at IEEE Systems and Cybernetics Society (SMC) whilst chairing the SMC Chapter in the UK&RI Section of IEEE

During December 2013, Ali was appointed as the Member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET-UK) Council and as the Vice Chair of the IEEE in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Ali is a Visiting Professor at London City University’s Centre for Systems and Control in the School of Engineering & Mathematics and at Beijing Jiaotong University School of Electronics & Information Engineering. He is also a Fellow of Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET), a Senior Member of IEEE and a member of the Security Institute.


The incessant demand for better value, increased functionality and enhanced quality underlies the drive towards innovation and exploitation of emerging technologies. Whilst these bring a mixed bag of desirable properties in modern products, services and systems, they are often accompanied by complexity, uncertainty and risk. The performance of products, services, systems and undertakings is a measure of their utility, output and perceived or real emergent properties. The key facets to performance are technical, reliability/availability, commercial, safety, security/vulnerability, environmental/sustainability, quality & perceived value/utility.

Whilst the above dimensions are reasonably distinct and often inter-related, the key differentiation between safety and security aspects is broadly as follows; safety is freedom from harm to people caused by unintentional or random/systematic events whilst security is freedom from loss caused by deliberate acts perpetrated by people. In this spirit, security is principally characterized by intent and causation as opposed to strictly being an output performance indicator reflecting degrees of loss or gain. Sustainability is a more complex attribute and encompasses societal, economic, environmental, resource and technological dimensions.

Other than hard (Technical, Commercial) and soft (Quality and Value) performance criteria, the rest are mainly measured probabilistically in terms of risk or reward due to inherent uncertainties. The overall utility and success of any endeavor essentially amounts to getting the correct balance between these hard and soft performance attributes of the goal being pursued. The optimization of these factors poses a major challenge to the duty holders and decision makers today since it demands understanding and competence in social, behavioral, commercial, legal as well as technical engineering disciplines. In this spirit, systems assurance comprises the portfolio of methods, processes, resources and activities adopted to ensure products, services and systems are designed and operated to deliver a required blend of desired performance measures whilst remaining free from undesirable emergent properties which pose a threat to health, safety and welfare of people, commercial damage to the businesses and harm to the natural habitat.


Systems specification

Requirements Analysis/Specification and Target Setting

High Integrity Systems Design

Systems Modeling and Simulation

Qualitative and Quantitative Systems Safety, Security & Sustainability Assessment

Probabilistic Safety and Security Performance Forecasting

Systems Risk and Reward Management

VIII. Demonstration of Compliance against Standards and Legal Requirements