McMASTER UNIVERSITY

SOFTWARE QUALITY CONSORTIUM (SQC)



What is SQC?

The Software Quality Consortium (SQC) is a group of software developing companies that work together to advance research and education on the development of high quality software by working with McMaster's Software Quality Research Laboratory and the associated Software Quality Network.

The importance of software quality research

Software has become a critical technology. It is essential for telephone networks, aircraft, elevators, medical devices, banking machines, manufacturing, chemical plants, satellites, power plants and many other systems that are important for our health, safety, and well-being. Software is also used in the design of many products that do not contain software. Furthermore, software is also critical for today's business operations. In all of these applications, the quality of the product or service does not depend on the quality of some software.

Unfortunately, even after more than 30 years of research and development, software remains an unmastered technology. In spite of many advances in our theoretical understanding, most software is delivered to customers with serious faults. Modern software has truly impressive capabilities, but it is so badly designed and documented that users find it hard to take advantage of those capabilities. Moreover, users find software to be unreliable and no guarantee is provided; in fact, where most products carry a guarantee, packaged software has a disclaimer.

The time has come to focus on the software quality problem and find ways to make fundamental improvements in our software development processes. It is also time to accept the fact that the problem is not a simple one and cannot be solved by simple "magic bullets" or more enlightened management. Research is required to develop new methods, notations, and tools that work with real software. This research will require close cooperation between researchers with a broad variety of expertise and industry with a broad variety of problems.

What does SQRL do?

The Software Quality Research Laboratory (SQRL) was formed by a group of McMaster researchers who are determined to make real progress towards better quality software. It serves as a research institute , a technology transfer institute , a meeting ground for researchers and software developers a software evaluation service , and an educational institution. SQRL researchers believe that these activities are mutually reinforcing; our basic research can be advanced by trying new ideas on real problems, teaching sound proven techniques, and transferring new software development ideas to industry.

SQC member benefits

In additional to the usual benefits of supporting and influencing academic research, SQC members will get direct benefits from their support of SQRL.

SQRL offers three types of seminars. All seminars are available to research partners and industrial supporters via standard teleconferencing facilities. There is a monthly distinguished speaker series presenting distinguished researchers and well-known consultants explaining how their latest work can be applied. There is also an Experience Exchange Series in which SQC members are able to learn from each other when one SQC member company describes its experience using a tool, process, or notation whether it was a success, a failure, or a mixture of each. Finally, there is a Technology Transfer Series in which SQRL faculty members and graduate students make presentations of the results of their own work as well as recent work done elsewhere that they believe can help SQC members. Through these seminar series, industrial members get to know SQRL staff and students and then have the opportunity to work directly with those who could help them the most.

Several times a year, SQRL will organise short courses on topics of interest to its developers. These will be held at McMaster but may also be available at a few sites by teleconferencing. The courses will be offered by experienced lecturers and will provide an opportunity for industrial software developers to upgrade their knowledge and capabilities. SQC members will be able to send 2 attendees to each course without cost and receive a discount on additional participants.

SQRL will enter into contracts to provide confidential software quality assessment (SQA) services to SQC members. Generally, the work will be done by a student under the supervision of a researcher and SQRL staff. All information provided to SQRL will be treated confidentially as will the results of the assessment. However, SQRL will be free to publish results about methods, tools and notations as long is the reports do not reveal confidential material.

SQC members will have numerous opportunities to meet with SQC students and will be assisted in recruiting students for summer jobs, internships, and permanent jobs.

SQC Membership fees

Companies with an interest in software quality can become members of SQC for $15,000 per year. Initially a 3 year membership will be available for $30,000.

SQC membership fees will be used:

SQRLNET

SQRL is associated with an international group of academic research institutions who will participate in our seminars and other activities. SQC membership brings researchers into contact with this larger group.

More information about SQRL

A more detailed description of SQRL activities is available from the contacts listed below.

Contacts:

To discuss SQC, SQRL and SQRLNET, you may contact:

Doris Burns
dburns@mcmaster.ca
(905) 525-9140, ext. 27377

Alan Wassyng
Acting Director
wassyng@mcmaster.ca
(905) 525-9140, ext. 26072


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