Testing Hyper-Complex Systems: What Can We Know?

[presentation]
by
Lee Copeland, Software Quality Engineering
Summary: 

Throughout history, humans have built systems of dramatically increasing complexity. In simpler systems, defects at the micro level are mitigated by the macro level structure. In complex systems, failures at the micro level cannot be compensated for at a higher level, often with catastrophic results. Now we are building hyper-complex computer systems, so complex that faults can create totally unpredictable behaviors. For example, systems based on the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) model can be dynamically composed of reusable services of unknown quality, created by multiple organizations and communicating through many technologies across the unpredictable Internet. Lee Copeland explains that claims about quality require knowledge of test "coverage," an unknowable quantity in hyper-complex systems. Are testers now going beyond our limits to provide useful information about the quality of systems to our clients? Join Lee for a look at your testing future as he describes new approaches needed to measure test coverage in these complex systems and lead your organization to better quality-despite the challenges.

  • Simple, complex, and hyper-complex systems defined
  • Why hyper-complex systems fail unpredictably and sometimes catastrophically
  • Failures caused by the "Butterfly Effect"

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