Software Disasters and Lessons Learned

Patricia McQuaid, Cal Poly State University

Software defects come in many forms--from those that cause a brief inconvenience to those that cause fatalities. Patricia McQuaid believes it is important to study software disasters, to alert developers and testers to be ever vigilant, and to understand that huge catastrophes can arise from what seem like small problems. Examining such failures as the Therac-25, Denver airport baggage handling, the Mars Polar Lander, and the Patriot missile, Pat focuses on factors that led to these problems, analyzes the problems, and then explains the lessons to be learned that relate to software engineering, safety engineering, government and corporate regulations, and oversight by users of the systems.

  • Learn from our mistakes-not in generalities but in specifics
  • Understand the synergistic effects of errors
  • Distinguish between technical failures and management failures

Upcoming Events

Sep 22
Oct 13
Apr 27