Software Faults Led to the Loss of Human Lives. Discuss the Problem and How It Could Have Been Prevented

Topics: Computer, Safety, Database Pages: 1 (328 words) Published: June 25, 2012
The growing complexity of modern systems is due to the ever-increasing power of computing devices. The Functionality that has been implemented in hardware is now often ported to software providing a variety of modifiable options and flexibility. However, the bad news is that the software complexity is the main source of potential hazards introduced by the software itself. These hazards are due to the system entering an inconsistent or unsafe state, which may occur in the case of a violation of mutual exclusion, lack of synchronization, corrupted communication, deadlock, etc. All these may lead to a situation known as a catastrophic event, which in turn may result in the system failure, if proper mitigation is not used. Software fails even when it is produced on schedule within budget and meets the customer’s specified software requirements. Software has been developed which, although meeting stated requirements, has significant negative social and ethical impacts. By ethical impact I mean those impacts of software which positively or negatively the circumstances, experiences, behavior, livelihood, or daily routine of others. The ethical stakeholders in software are those who are so affected. The primary objective of software safety is to guarantee that software does not cause or contribute to a system reaching such a hazardous state. Since such a guarantee is rather difficult to accomplish, we will settle for second best. We strive to design the system in such way that, it detects and takes corrective action if the System reaches a hazardous state, and it mitigates possible damage in case a catastrophic event occurs. In this paper we discuss the differences between reliability and safety, the impact and relation of software to the overall system safety, and introduce the concept of assessing the safety of a software intensive system through analysis of the hazards and potential catastrophic events. The measure of safety is defined as coverage of the complete...
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