School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Computer Science
CSci 110 -- Technology and Society
Prof. Michael B. Feldman, course instructor

Week 4: Reliability of Critical Software Systems


Software Reliability Issues, Baase, chapt. 4

Notes on Reliable Software
Notes on Science Fiction
Sample Software License 1
Sample Software License 2

Learning Activities:

A. Full-Class Discussions: Computer Control of Socially Critical Systems

  1. Do you think that complex computer systems can ever be 100% debugged?
  2. If we know that a complex computer system may have bugs, how can we safeguard that system from catastrophic failure?
  3. Based upon our discussion of computer ethics, do you think that the reliability of computer software is an ethical issue or a technical issue?
  4. The sample software licenses are from real products, and are typical. They are contracts between software companies and users. What are the responsibilities of the user? What are the responsibilities of the software company? Do you think the company is sufficiently acountable? If not, what would you prefer to see in the contract?
  5. For some software product on your own computer, find the license (it may be in the folder on disk, or the distribution CD). Comment on it -- how does it compare wih the examples?

B. Full-Class Discussions: Science Fiction Report.