Does Testing need a new Discipline?

Blog post   •   Feb 25, 2013 16:51 GMT

Author: Vanessa Howard

I spoke with a Professor of Chemistry recently who talked animatedly not about his own field of expertise but about ‘the Edge of Disciplines’.

That the overlap in research and understanding between the sciences has been reaping rewards is nothing new, after all biology and chemistry have a relationship that began in the 19th century, but the ability to crunch big data is relatively new and offers mind-bending possibilities for research.

Computational fluid dynamics is an obvious example but at this point, it is worth pondering if this can be more than a one way street, that is, what can computing learn from traditional disciplines?

Here’s one insight - Richard Bender estimates that software has five defects per thousand lines of code at delivery; he compares this with hardware which has less than one defect per many millions of logic gates at delivery.

For Bender, there are clear failings in process in the world of software, where the rigours that have become ingrained in the working practices of ‘engineering’ are absent.

With software defects costing business and consumers billions year in year out, perhaps ‘the edge of disciplines’ can also encourage us to ask how much there is to gain if we apply hardware logic testing to software.