An Empirical Exploration in the Study of Software-Related Fatal Failures
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This thesis investigates and explores the subject of software-related fatal failures. In our technology oriented society, deadly disasters due to software failures are not that uncommon as we might think. During recent years there has been a large amount of software-related fatal failures documented, although there have not been as far as we are aware of, any research studies trying to put those failures in the context of a wider evidence. That fact motivated us to answer two research questions: how many lives have been lost through failures of software and what is the nature of the main cause of software-related fatal failures. The aim of this thesis is to explore these questions and provide some empirical answers and also contribute to the knowledge of these failures.Our goal is to provide an empirical and conceptual basis for investigating fatal software failures that will attempt to place these failure examples in a wider record. A similar study has been conducted by Donald MacKenzie in the area of computer related failures but it is not directly answering our questions of interest and it is somehow outdated. Computer scientist Peter Neumann has done a lot of research in computer safety and is also the author of a wide collection of computer failure cases named “Risks to the public in computer and related systems” also called “RISKS” Reports. Those reports were the main source of our investigation and answers were given out of data collected from those reports. The methodology used in this research was an exploratory systematic review study. Starting off by defining Software-Related Fatal Failures (SRFF) and the inclusion criteria for the cases to be investigated, allowed us to avoid misinterpretations and collect the data in a better way. We searched through the “RISKS” reports and collected cases according to our criteria. The final collected data was reviewed and analyzed. Finally the results were illustrated and presented in terms of tables, plots, charts and descriptive statistics. We found out that in the “RISKS” reports, over 2600 people have lost their lives due to software-related failures and the majority of those failures had been caused by problematic user-software interaction. While answering our research questions we observed based on the information related to fatal software failures that the topic of SRFF is poorly investigated. Our research provides agood basis for future investigation and aims to trigger further research in the subject ofsoftware-related fatal failures.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 31 p.
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31939OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-31939DiVA: diva2:937355
Subject / course
Enoiu, Eduard Paul, Doctoral student
Sundmark, Daniel, Professor