Assign each team a case study of software failure.
Have each team analyze the case study using as many of the topics covered in class as possible, such as types of testing, common testing techniques, and the role of quality engineering in the software development process.
Encourage teams to consider the following questions as they analyze the case study:
What went wrong with the software?
Could the failure have been prevented with proper testing?
What testing techniques might have uncovered the issues before the software was released?
How could the development process have been improved to ensure higher quality software?
Have each team prescribe procedures for their test teams to follow when they are managers in order to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.
Have each team present their findings, analysis, and prescribed procedures to the class.
Participation in team discussions and presentation
Use Trello to create a presentation report on the case study analysis, prescribed procedures, and how they relate to the topics covered in class
case studies with detailed technical analysis suitable for a software engineering class, including economic and human damage costs:
The Healthcare.gov rollout: In 2013, the launch of the Healthcare.gov website, which was intended to provide a marketplace for individuals to purchase health insurance, was marred by technical issues that made the site largely unusable. The website was built by a consortium of contractors, and testing was reportedly inadequate. As a result, the site experienced frequent crashes and error messages, making it difficult for users to create accounts or enroll in insurance plans.
The problems were caused by a lack of proper testing and resulted in significant delays and costs, with the final price tag for the troubled rollout estimated at over $2 billion.
The London Stock Exchange outage: In 2019, a software upgrade caused the London Stock Exchange to go offline for several hours, resulting in a loss of approximately £10 billion in trades. The outage was caused by a failure to properly test the software before implementation. The cause of the failure was traced to a flaw in the system's software that was not detected during testing. The outage had significant economic consequences, as many traders were unable to execute trades and some companies saw their stock prices drop.
The Ariane 5 rocket explosion: In 1996, the Ariane 5 rocket, which was carrying a payload of satellites, exploded just 37 seconds after liftoff due to a software error. The error was caused by a failure to properly test the software, and the explosion resulted in a loss of approximately $500 million. The error was caused by a flaw in the software that was not detected during testing. The flaw caused the rocket's guidance system to malfunction, leading to the explosion.
The Mars Climate Orbiter mission: In 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter, a spacecraft launched by NASA, was lost due to a software error that caused it to crash into the surface of Mars. The error was caused by a failure to properly test the software, and the mission was a total loss. The error was caused by a discrepancy between the software used to navigate the spacecraft and the software used to calculate the spacecraft's position. The error was not detected during testing and resulted in the loss of the spacecraft.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster: In 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan suffered a catastrophic failure after a tsunami triggered by an earthquake caused a meltdown of three of the plant's reactors. The disaster was exacerbated by software problems that hindered the ability of operators to respond to the crisis. The software problems were caused by a lack of proper testing and resulted in significant economic and human damage, with the final cost of the disaster estimated at over $200 billion.
The Therac-25 radiation overdose: In the 1980s, the Therac-25, a medical device used to deliver radiation therapy, caused multiple instances of patient death due to software errors that caused the device to deliver excessive doses of radiation. The errors were caused by a lack of proper testing and resulted in significant harm to patients. The errors were caused by a flaw in the software that was not detected during testing, which resulted in the device delivering lethal doses of radiation to patients.
The Patriot missile failure: In 1991, a Patriot missile defense system failed to intercept an incoming Scud missile during the Gulf War, resulting in the deaths of 28 soldiers. The failure was caused by a software error that was not detected during testing. The error was caused by a flaw in the software that caused the missile defense system to malfunction, leading to the failure.
The Airbus A320 crash: In 1988, an Airbus A320 crashed into a mountain in France, killing all passengers and crew on board. DO Google Research to obtain more details.
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