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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What kinds of functions are used by Cleanroom Software Engineering approach?

Harlan Mills and his colleagues namely Linger, Poore, Dyer in the year of 1980 developed a software process that could promise building zero error software at IBM. This process is now popularly known as the Cleanroom software engineering. The process was named in accordance with an analogy with the manufacturing process of the semiconductors. 

The Clean room software engineering process makes use of the statistical process and its control features. The software systems and applications thus produced have certified software reliability. The productivity is also increased as the software has no defects at delivery. 
Below mentioned are some key features of the Cleanroom software engineering process:
  1. Usage scenarios
  2. Incremental development
  3. Incremental release
  4. Statistical modeling
  5. Separate development
  6. Acceptance testing
  7. No unit testing
  8. No debugging
  9. Formal reviews with verification conditions
Basic technologies used by the CSE approach are:
  1. Incremental development
  2. Box structured specifications
  3. Statistical usage testing
  4. Function theoretic verification
- The incremental development phase of the CSE involves overlapping of the incremental development and from beginning of specification to the end of the test execution it takes around 12 – 18 weeks.
- Partitioning of the increments is critical as well as difficult. 
Formal specification of the CSE process involves the following:
  1. Box structured Designing: Three types of boxes are identified namely black box, state box and clear box.
  2. Verification properties of the structures and
  3. Program functions: These are one kind of functions that are used by the clean room approach.
- State boxes are the description of the state of the system in terms of data structures such as sequences, sets, lists, records, relations and maps. 
- Further, they include specification of operations and state in-variants.
- Each and every operation that is carried out needs to take care of the invariant. 
- The syntax errors present in a constructed program in clean-room are checked by a parser but is not run by the developer.
- A team review is responsible for performing verification which is driven by a number of verification conditions. 
- Productivity is increased by 3–5 times in the verification process as compared to the debugging process. 
- Proving the program is always an option with the developers but it calls for a lot of math intensive work.
- As an alternate to this, clean room software engineering approach prefers to use a team code inspection in terms of two things namely:
  1. Program functions and
  2. Verification conditions
- After this, an informal review is carried out which confirms whether all conditions have been satisfied or not. 
- Program functions are nothing but functions describing the prime program’s function.

- Functional verification steps are:
1.    Specifying the program by post and pre-conditions.
2.    Parsing the program in to prime numbers.
3.    Determining the program functions for SESE’s.
4.    Defining verification conditions.
5.    Inspection of all the verification conditions.
- Program functions also define the conditions under which a program can be executed legally. Such program functions are called pre-conditions.
- Program functions can even express the effect the program execution is having up on the state of the system. Such program functions are called the post conditions.
- Programs are mostly expressed on terms of the input arguments, instance variables and return values of the program. 
- However, they cannot be expressed by local program variables. 
- The concept of nested blocks is supported by a number of modern programming languages and structured programs always require well nesting. 
- The process determining SESE’s also involves parsing rather than just program functions.

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