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Modeling software design diversity

Littlewood, B., Popov, P. T. & Strigini, L. (2001). Modeling software design diversity. ACM Computer Surveys, 33(2), pp. 177-208. doi: 10.1145/384192.384195


Design diversity has been used for many years now as a means of achieving a degree of fault tolerance in software-based systems. Whilst there is clear evidence that the approach can be expected to deliver some increase in reliability compared with a single version, there is not agreement about the extent of this. More importantly, it remains difficult to evaluate exactly how reliable a particular diverse fault-tolerant system is. This difficulty arises because assumptions of independence of failures between different versions have been shown not to be tenable: assessment of the actual level of dependence present is therefore needed, and this is hard. In this tutorial we survey the modelling issues here, with an emphasis upon the impact these have upon the problem of assessing the reliability of fault tolerant systems. The intended audience is one of designers, assessors and project managers with only a basic knowledge of probabilities, as well as reliability experts without detailed knowledge of software, who seek an introduction to the probabilistic issues in decisions about design diversity.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © ACM, 2001. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ACM Computing Surveys, {VOL#22, ISS#2, (June 2001)} DOI:10.1145/384192.384195
Publisher Keywords: Software fault tolerance, safety, protection systems, control systems, N-version software, multiple version programming, functional diversity
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science > Software Reliability
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