Myths and Methods: Is There a Scientific Basis for Y2K Inspections?
Dr. D.L. Parnas
Although it is possible to use scientifically based mathematical models in
the analysis of software, most programmers rely on their intuitive
understanding instead. With complex programs, our intuition is often
inadequate and we overlook serious faults. Although most organisations have
introduced a systematic management process for Y2K software inspection and
repairs, the actual analysis of the software relies on intuitive
"eyeballing" of the code. Intuition has given rise to some folklore about
the Y2K problem that has no scientific basis. We need to base our analysis
on sound science and mathematics. Moreover, sound models suggest procedures
that are more systematic and more trustworthy than the intuitive ones. This
paper will discuss both some of the unscientific myths and sound inspection
methods. If we base our program analysis on unsound methods, we are "building
on sand" and what we do will fail.