Embedded software: White paper shows how to use testing to improve software quality

A white paper entitled Why Use Software Verification? is available for download from the Control Engineering Resource Center. The paper discusses the rigorous standards employed for mission-critical software in the aerospace and automotive industries and shows how the standards can be employed in general embedded-system software development.
By Control Engineering Staff December 15, 2008

Oak Brook, IL — “Software development often proves far more expensive than expected,” says Paul Humphreys, a software engineer with LDRA Ltd. in his paper entitled Why Use Software Verification? “Bugs discovered late in the development cycle send costs soaring and risk the integrity and safety of a system,” he says. The paper, available for download from the Control Engineering Resource Center, goes on to discuss the rigorous standards employed for mission-critical software in the aerospace and automotive industries, and shows how these can be employed in general embedded-system software development.
Developers of non-safety-critical systems can benefit from the type of rigorous standards employed within the aerospace and automotive industries. In addition to producing reliable software, costs can be contained and requirements met more easily by adhering to a software quality process. The earlier a defect is discovered, the less impact it has on development time and cost. There is much to gain by ensuring requirements are captured in full, are well understood, and are specified completely and unambiguously. Bugs discovered late in the development cycle send costs soaring and risk the integrity and safety of a system, especially if the software has been deployed.
“Obviously, careful planning, organization, and a team with the correct skills all help. However, it is verification and validation that identify when and how the development process drifted from what was intended or required by the user,” says Humphreys. “Validation focuses on producing the right software system while verification ensures the software is built the right way. Both should be evident at each stage of development.”
C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
Register here .