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A Standard for Software Quality Assurance Plans

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131435D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 12 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Fletcher Buckley: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

RCA Government Systems Division

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 12% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1979 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

A Standard for Software Quality Assurance Plans

Fletcher Buckley

RCA Government Systems Division

  (Image Omitted: The increasing criticality of software mandates a standard for software quality assurance plans. Such a standard, developed by the Computer Society 's Software Engineering Standards Subcommittee, appears here.)

Computer system usage is booming -- the market is increasing, and microprocessors are entering areas such as industrial process control and transportation. The signs of another great expansion are all around us. For example, the global minicomputer market is growing from $310 million annual sales in 1971 to $2 billion in 1976 to an estimated $6.5 billion in 1981.'

However, despite all the computer usage to date, the efforts of many highly-motivated people and organizations, and the vast outpouring of the software engineering field, the common computer systems with which we come into daily contact continue to fail. A few close-to-home examples make the point:

The new software-controlled PABX recently installed in our plant became inoperable four times in one week. After that, the count was abandoned.

The vendor-supported software at the corporate computer center provided the error statistics shown below.

Month.....New software errors March 1978.....32 April 1978.....35 May 1978.....35 June
1978.....28

The failure of some DP systems, however, would be so disastrous that they cannot be allowed to fail. A purist would observe that all eventually fail. Nevertheless, the possibility of a failure in such systems must be as close to zero as possible. Consider, for example, the following:

Two aircraft recently collided over San Diego, with tragic results. One aspect of the disaster receiving attention in the press was the question of the adequacy of the local flight-control systems. Faced with today's dense air traffic and public demand for greater safety, the FAA is moving more and more into computer-assisted flight control.

Electronic funds transfers are rapidly approaching common use. Should a portion of the financial/banking system grind to a halt, for even a limited period of time, the negative social consequences might be far reaching indeed.2

Patient monitoring, using complex medical instrumentation in hospital intensive care wards, is rapidly becoming computerized.

Nuclear reactor safety systems, now under intense public scrutiny, are coming increasingly under computer control.

IEEE Computer Society, Aug 01, 1979 Page 1 IEEE Computer Volume 12 Number 8, Pages 43-50

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A Standard for Sof...