Software Reliability Engineering: A Roadmap

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Software Reliability Engineering: A Roadmap
Michael R. Lyu

Michael R. Lyu received the Ph.D. in computer science from University of California, Los Angeles in 1988. He is a Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bellcore, and Bell Labs; and taught at the University of Iowa. He has participated in more than 30 industrial projects, published over 250 papers, and helped to develop many commercial systems and software tools. Professor Lyu is frequently invited as a keynote or tutorial speaker to conferences and workshops in U.S., Europe, and Asia. He initiated the International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE) in 1990. He also received Best Paper Awards in ISSRE'98 and in ISSRE'2003. Professor Lyu is an IEEE Fellow and an AAAS Fellow, for his contributions to software reliability engineering and software fault tolerance.

Software Reliability Engineering: A Roadmap
Michael R. Lyu Computer Science and Engineering Department The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong various systems and applications has been growing exponentially for the past 40 years [20]. The trend of such growth in the telecommunication, business, defense, and transportation industries shows a compound growth rate of ten times every five years. Because of this ever-increasing dependency, software failures can lead to serious, even fatal, consequences in safety-critical systems as well as in normal business. Previous software failures have impaired several highvisibility programs and have led to loss of business [28]. The ubiquitous software is also invisible, and its invisible nature makes it both beneficial and harmful. From the positive side, systems around us work seamlessly thanks to the smooth and swift execution of software. From the negative side, we often do not know when, where and how software ever has failed, or will fail. Consequently, while reliability engineering for hardware and physical systems continuously improves, reliability engineering for software does not really live up to our expectation over the years. This situation is frustrating as well as encouraging. It is frustrating because the software crisis identified as early as the 1960s still stubbornly stays with us, and “software engineering” has not fully evolved into a real engineering discipline. Human judgments and subjective favorites, instead of physical laws and rigorous procedures, dominate many decision making processes in software engineering. The situation is particularly critical in software reliability engineering. Reliability is probably the most important factor to claim for any engineering discipline, as it quantitatively measures quality, and the quantity can be properly engineered. Yet software reliability engineering, as elaborated in later sections, is not yet fully delivering its promise. Nevertheless, there is an encouraging aspect to this situation. The demands on, techniques of, and enhancements to software are continually increasing, and so is the need to understand

Software reliability engineering is focused on engineering techniques for developing and maintaining software systems whose reliability can be quantitatively evaluated. In order to estimate as well as to predict the reliability of software systems, failure data need to be properly measured by various means during software development and operational phases. Moreover, credible software reliability models are required to track underlying software failure processes for accurate reliability analysis and forecasting. Although software reliability has remained an active research subject over the past 35 years, challenges and open questions still exist. In particular, vital future goals include the development of new software reliability engineering paradigms that take software architectures, testing techniques, and software failure...
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