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Software Reliability Model for Modular Program Structure

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1 Author(s)
Littlewood, Bev ; Mathematics Department; The City University; Northampton Square; London EC1V OHB ENGLAND.

The paper treats a modular program in which transfers of control between modules follow a semi-Markov process. Each module is failure-prone, and the different failure processes are assumed to be Poisson. The transfers of control between modules (interfaces) are themselves subject to failure. The overall failure process of the program is described, and an asymptotic Poisson process approximation is given for the case when the individual modules and interfaces are very reliable. A simple formula gives the failure rate of the overall program (and hence mean time between failures) under this limiting condition. The remainder of the paper treats the consequences of failures. Each failure results in a cost, represented by a random variable with a distribution typical of the type of failure. The quantity of interest is the total cost of running the program for a time t, and a simple approximating distribution is given for large t. The parameters of this limiting distribution are functions only of the means and variances of the underlying distributions, and are thus readily estimable. A calculation of program availability is given as an example of the cost process. There follows a brief discussion of methods of estimating the parameters of the model, with suggestions of areas in which it might be used.

Published in:

Reliability, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:R-28 ,  Issue: 3 )