Software Quality - Introduction to the Special Theme
ERCIM News , Volume 99
The introduction of fast and cheap computer and networking hardware enables the spread of software. Software, in a nutshell, represents an unprecedented ability to channel creativity and innovation. The joyful act of simply writing computer programs for existing ICT infrastructure can change the world. We are currently witnessing how our lives can change rapidly as a result, at every level of organization and society and in practically every aspect of the human condition: work, play, love and war. The act of writing software does not imply an understanding of the resulting creation. We are surprised by failing software (due to bugs), the inability of rigid computer systems to “just do what we want”, the loss of privacy and information security, and last but not least, the million euro software project failures that occur in the public sector. These surprises are generally not due to negligence or unethical behaviour but rather reflect our incomplete understanding of what we are creating. Our creations, at present, are all much too complex and this lack of understanding leads to a lack of control.