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People play a key role in software safety in many different ways.

First, humans create the software, and software is almost exclusively an artifact of human intelligence. It has no moving parts, the laws of physics don’t apply to it.  It is an abstraction, and the only way to really understand it is to understand humans. 

Humans also play a key role as operators of the systems.  A software control system must balance how much responsibility is given to the user so the user will be attentive but not overly stressed should anything unusual occur.

There is no way to measure software safety. This is an unfortunate problem because most consumers want to know how safe the products they buy are. 

Most experts today believe it’s a mistake to accept software solely based on the user acceptance test (UAT), also commonly known as black-box or functional testing in the software industry, where a set of pre-defined scenarios (or functional tests) was applied to the software system to verify actual results obtained against the expected results.

White-box testing is another methodology for software safety. The key benefit of white-box testing is that defects (programming bugs) or violations of coding best practices are promptly made known to the developers. This reduces the likelihood of allowing defects to be carried over to subsequent phases of the development life cycle.

Studies have shown that the longer it takes to detect the defect as it is promoted through its life cycle, the more difficult and costly it is to fix the problem. White-box testing comprises static and dynamic analyses.

While it is possible for one to manually conduct code reviews, it is often more cost effective to use automated tools to flag out bad practices and potential defects.

Numerous tools exist in the market, for example, Parasoft’s C++ Test and Jtest, Agitar and McCabe IQ suites2. All these tools have a common objective to help developers and managers take guesswork, intuition and other unreliable modalities out of software safety.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Software Safety Training, a 3-day course that covers all aspects of Software Safety focusing on philosophies and methods in software safety and its primary objectives.

Additionally, Tonex offers several more courses in Software Safety including:

Software Safety Course for Managers (2 days)

Software Safety Programming and Software Coding Standards (2 days)

Software Safety Training Workshop (2 days)

Software Safety, Hazards Analysis and Risk Management Training Workshop (3 days)

Software System Safety Engineering Training (3 days)

 For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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