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Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on

Issue 11 • Date Nov 1997

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Displaying Results 1 - 4 of 4
  • Formally verified on-line diagnosis

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 684 - 721
    Cited by:  Papers (20)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (816 KB)  

    A reconfigurable fault tolerant system achieves the attributes of dependability of operations through fault detection, fault isolation and reconfiguration, typically referred to as the FDIR paradigm. Fault diagnosis is a key component of this approach, requiring an accurate determination of the health and state of the system. An imprecise state assessment can lead to catastrophic failure due to an optimistic diagnosis, or conversely, result in underutilization of resources because of a pessimistic diagnosis. Differing from classical testing and other off-line diagnostic approaches, we develop procedures for maximal utilization of the system state information to provide for continual, on-line diagnosis and reconfiguration capabilities as an integral part of the system operations. Our diagnosis approach, unlike existing techniques, does not require administered testing to gather syndrome information but is based on monitoring the system message traffic among redundant system functions. We present comprehensive on-line diagnosis algorithms capable of handling a continuum of faults of varying severity at the node and link level. Not only are the proposed algorithms on-line in nature, but are themselves tolerant to faults in the diagnostic process. Formal analysis is presented for all proposed algorithms. These proofs offer both insight into the algorithm operations and facilitate a rigorous formal verification of the developed algorithms View full abstract»

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  • Visual and textual consistency checking tools for graphical user interfaces

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 722 - 735
    Cited by:  Papers (6)  |  Patents (2)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (224 KB)  

    Designing user interfaces with consistent visual and textual properties is difficult. To demonstrate the harmful effects of inconsistency, we conducted an experiment with 60 subjects. Inconsistent interface terminology slowed user performance by 10 to 25 percent. Unfortunately, contemporary software tools provide only modest support for consistency control. Therefore, we developed SHERLOCK, a family of consistency analysis tools, which evaluates visual and textual properties of user interfaces. It provides graphical analysis tools such as a dialog box summary table that presents a compact overview of visual properties of all dialog boxes. SHERLOCK provides terminology analysis tools including an interface concordance, an interface spellchecker, and terminology baskets to check for inconsistent use of familiar groups of terms. Button analysis tools include a button concordance and a button layout table to detect variant capitalization, distinct typefaces, distinct colors, variant button sizes, and inconsistent button placements. We describe the design, software architecture, and the use of SHERLOCK. We tested SHERLOCK with four commercial prototypes. The outputs, analysis, and feedback from designers of the applications are presented View full abstract»

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  • Some conservative stopping rules for the operational testing of safety critical software

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 673 - 683
    Cited by:  Papers (30)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (148 KB)  

    Operational testing, which aims to generate sequences of test cases with the same statistical properties as those that would be experienced in real operational use, can be used to obtain quantitative measures of the reliability of software. In the case of safety critical software it is common to demand that all known faults are removed. This means that if there is a failure during the operational testing, the offending fault must be identified and removed. Thus an operational test for safety critical software takes the form of a specified number of test cases (or a specified period of working) that must be executed failure-free. This paper addresses the problem of specifying the numbers of test cases (or time periods) required for a test, when the previous test has terminated as a result of a failure. It has been proposed that, after the obligatory fix of the offending fault, the software should be treated as if it were completely novel, and be required to pass exactly the same test as originally specified. The reasoning here claims to be conservative, in as much as no credit is given for any previous failure-free operation prior to the failure that terminated the test. We show that, in fact, this is not a conservative approach in all cases, and propose instead some new Bayesian stopping rules. We show that the degree of conservatism in stopping rules depends upon the precise way in which the reliability requirement is expressed. We define a particular form of conservatism that seems desirable on intuitive grounds, and show that the stopping rules that exhibit this conservatism are also precisely the ones that seem preferable on other grounds View full abstract»

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  • Estimating software project effort using analogies

    Publication Year: 1997 , Page(s): 736 - 743
    Cited by:  Papers (203)  |  Patents (8)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (348 KB)  

    Accurate project effort prediction is an important goal for the software engineering community. To date most work has focused upon building algorithmic models of effort, for example COCOMO. These can be calibrated to local environments. We describe an alternative approach to estimation based upon the use of analogies. The underlying principle is to characterize projects in terms of features (for example, the number of interfaces, the development method or the size of the functional requirements document). Completed projects are stored and then the problem becomes one of finding the most similar projects to the one for which a prediction is required. Similarity is defined as Euclidean distance in n-dimensional space where n is the number of project features. Each dimension is standardized so all dimensions have equal weight. The known effort values of the nearest neighbors to the new project are then used as the basis for the prediction. The process is automated using a PC-based tool known as ANGEL. The method is validated on nine different industrial datasets (a total of 275 projects) and in all cases analogy outperforms algorithmic models based upon stepwise regression. From this work we argue that estimation by analogy is a viable technique that, at the very least, can be used by project managers to complement current estimation techniques View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

The IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering is interested in well-defined theoretical results and empirical studies that have potential impact on the construction, analysis, or management of software. The scope of this Transactions ranges from the mechanisms through the development of principles to the application of those principles to specific environments. Specific topic areas include: a) development and maintenance methods and models, e.g., techniques and principles for the specification, design, and implementation of software systems, including notations and process models; b) assessment methods, e.g., software tests and validation, reliability models, test and diagnosis procedures, software redundancy and design for error control, and the measurements and evaluation of various aspects of the process and product; c) software project management, e.g., productivity factors, cost models, schedule and organizational issues, standards; d) tools and environments, e.g., specific tools, integrated tool environments including the associated architectures, databases, and parallel and distributed processing issues; e) system issues, e.g., hardware-software trade-off; and f) state-of-the-art surveys that provide a synthesis and comprehensive review of the historical development of one particular area of interest.

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Editor-in-Chief
Matthew B. Dwyer
Dept. Computer Science and Engineering
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