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Reliability and Quality of European Software

Objective

The objectives of REQUEST were to provide improved and validated techniques for measuring and modelling software quality and reliability, supported by the appropriate prototype tools. The metrics and models were to span as much of the life-cycle as possible provide information for project management decision-making and control. Particular targets were to develop:
-a Constructive Quality Model (COQUAMO) to predict quality characteristics throughout the software development process
-metrics and models for reliability prediction
-a database for software quality and reliability for validating models and metrics
-prototype tools to enable ready use to be made of quality and reliability metrics and models.
Quality models and tools for prediction, control and assessment, together with the associated support tools for data collection and analysis, were developed. The development of successive prototypes of quality management systems (QMS) provided a frame for a construction quality model (COQUAMO) and its surrounding tools. Work on modelling the reliability of single systems concentrated on 2 aspects: the integration of testing activities and reliability modelling in order to improve the control of testing activities, and provision of a suitable human-machine interface. An environment for reliability assessment (PERFIDE) was demonstrated. The PERFIDE environment provides a good interface with a software package and support documents. Contributions to the theory of modelling the reliability of fault tolerant systems were made in 2 areas: in the quantification of dependency in models which predict the reliability of systems with multiple versions of software, and in comparing the cost effectiveness of testing and fault tolerance in achieving required reliability levels. Software project data have been collected as part of the process of metric and model validation, and a database has been established.
Quality models and tools for prediction, control and assessment, together with the associated support tools for data collection and analysis, were developed. The development of successive prototypes of Quality Management System (QMS) provided a frame for COQUAMO and its surrounding tools. COQUAMO is an innovative tool, putting new and higher-performing services on the market.
Work on modelling the reliability of single systems concentrated on two aspects:
-the integration of testing activities and reliability modeling in order to improve the control of testing activities
-provision of a suitable human-machine interface.
An environment for reliability assessment (PERFIDE) was demonstrated. The PERFIDE environment provides a good interface with a software package (available to ESPRIT participants) and support documents.
Contributions to the theory of modelling the reliability of fault-tolerant systems were made in two areas: in the quantification of dependency in models which predict the reliability of systems with multiple versions of software, and in comparing the cost-effectiveness of testing and fault-tolerance in achieving required reliability levels.
Software project data have been collected as part of the process of metric and model validation, and a database has been established.
The database model is currently being used in the SCOPE (project 2151) and DARTS (2354), and is mature enough to be exploited by any ESPRIT project which intends to make data collection. The two options are:
-either to use the REQUEST model as it is
-to generate a dedicated database.
The role of the meta-model is to generate specific databases, working on the same principle as the REQUEST database, but with different relations or objects. Therefore, any other application or extension of the current data model (eg on hardware quality) can be expected for future exploitations.
More than one hundred deliverables have been produced, and the results of REQUEST have been presented at more than twenty international conferences (synopses and other documents are available from STC).
Exploitation
An exchange of all tools related to data collection has been agreed between the Alvey Software Data Library and the REQUEST consortium. Further agreements are under negotiation with other enterprises. The availability of a public database dealing with software quality and reliability is of particular interest for organisations new to those fields.
An open course on the REQUEST data model is now given in the NCRS.
REQUEST definitions for software metrics standards are used in other ESPRIT projects. The large number of countries represented in the project should facilitate the emergence of European standards for metrics.
The REQUEST quality results are being used by ICL to define the requirements of a software quality environment for the ESA.
Elektronik Centralen is currently providing services to introduce Software Quality Management in Danish companies, using REQUEST's results.
A book, entitled "Strategies for the achievement and assessment of Fault-Tolerant Software", has been published by Springer Verlag about the work on fault-tolerant systems (SP2), and one may be published on the COQUAMO quality model (SP1).

Coordinator

BNR Europe Ltd
Address
London Road
CM17 9NA Harlow
United Kingdom

Participants (6)

AEG Olympia AG
Germany
Address
Nonnendammallee
1000 Berlin
Bailey Esacontrol SpA
Italy
Address
Via Hermada 6
16154 Genova
CISI Ingénierie SA
France
Address
3 Rue Le Corbusier Silic 232
94528 Rungis
Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit mbH
Germany
Address
Forschungsgelände
85748 Garching Bei München
THOMSON CSF
France
Address
160 Boulevard De Valmy
92704 Colombes
United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
United Kingdom
Address
Culcheth Laboratory Wighsaw Lane
WA3 4NE Warrington