SCI 199Y Software Forensics: Investigating Why Software Fails

(Fall term, 2004)


Timetable

Monday 3-5, Thursday 4

About the Course

Software systems have penetrated nearly all aspects of our lives, and the opportunities for new uses seem boundless. However, our experience of actual computer systems is often disappointing. They are unreliable, sometimes dangerous, and often create more problems than they solve. Why should this be? In this seminar we will explore a number of serious software failures to try and answer these questions. Like forensic scientists investigating crimes, we will investigate accidents and failures using all the evidence available. We will piece together an account of what went wrong in cases from space exploration, medical devices, aircraft flight control, and the nuclear and chemical industries, and examine problems with the internet and world-wide web. We will use our findings to draw out lessons for how software should be designed and used, and as a basis for discussions of society’s dependence upon software, and what we can expect about software reliability in the future.

Syllabus

Week
Date
Lecture
Resource
1
**
Introduction: Forensics software Engineering, Case study Chris Johnson;
2
**
Human error: cognitive theory Human Error (James Reason): Chapter2,3--Study of human error; Error types. Chapter4--Cognitive theory.
3
**
Design science and engineering: How design errors happen

Design Paradigms (Henry Petroski)
Learning from Accidents (Trevor A. Kletz)

4
**
System theory: complexity & understanding Normal Accidents (Charles Perrow): Chapter3--Complexity, coupling and catastrophe
5
**
Risk assessment and management

Assessment and Control of Software Risks (Capers Jones): Chapter2,3--The most common/serious risks ;
Managing Risk (Elaine M. Hall)

6
**
Security:computer security, network security, software reliability Secrets & Lies (Bruce Schneier): Chapter19, 21--Threat modeling / Attack trees
7
**
Investigation technique Safeware (Nancy Leveson)
8
**
Software vs. other systems  
9
**
Case studies  

Resources

Contact Details

Prof. Steve Easterbrook
E-mail: sme@cs.toronto.edu
Web page: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme
Office: BA5234 (Bahen Centre)