Toward better software reliability
New methods for the assessment of software reliability are under development because buyers and users of software are continuously demanding better products. Safety-critical software is now an issue in its own right because its reliability must be guaranteed. Software buyers are now also interested in software warranties, though the legal obligations governing them are not yet fully resolved.
The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and a few software companies, with the assistance of the National Technology Agency (Tekes), are designing tools for the development and measurement of software reliability and are assessing training needs for the field. The work is scheduled for 2000-2003 and its value is FIM 2,000,000.
In the long term, taking software reliability into consideration from the inception of development work is a good way of keeping to software project goals and schedules. Reliable software should also be produced without increases in personnel resources.
To date, the methods for
designing and evaluating software reliability have been based on technologies that are
applied to equipment. Testing is still the most important and most practical method of
evaluation, but is considered important at the end of development work. The only way to
keep to the goals and time schedules for a software project is to take reliability into
consideration right at the inception of development work.
Many software packages are compiled from modules received from various suppliers, but the modules must still be handled through black-box modelling because their manufacturers keep the documents secret.
Software manufacturers currently possess very limited know-how about software processes that stress reliability. That is why training in reliability expertise should be increased and given more focus in the future.
For more information please contact: VTT Automation, Hannu Harju, tel. +358 9 456 6474, firstname.lastname@example.org
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