Application of Orthogonal Defect Classification for Software Reliability Analysis

by   Edward Chen, et al.

The modernization of existing and new nuclear power plants with digital instrumentation and control systems (DI C) is a recent and highly trending topic. However, there lacks strong consensus on best-estimate reliability methodologies by both the United States (U.S.) Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the industry. In this work, we develop an approach called Orthogonal-defect Classification for Assessing Software Reliability (ORCAS) to quantify probabilities of various software failure modes in a DI C system. The method utilizes accepted industry methodologies for quality assurance that are verified by experimental evidence. In essence, the approach combines a semantic failure classification model with a reliability growth model to predict the probability of failure modes of a software system. A case study was conducted on a representative I C platform (ChibiOS) running a smart sensor acquisition software developed by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The testing and evidence collection guidance in ORCAS was applied, and defects were uncovered in the software. Qualitative evidence, such as modified condition decision coverage, was used to gauge the completeness and trustworthiness of the assessment while quantitative evidence was used to determine the software failure probabilities. The reliability of the software was then estimated and compared to existing operational data of the sensor device. It is demonstrated that by using ORCAS, a semantic reasoning framework can be developed to justify if the software is reliable (or unreliable) while still leveraging the strength of the existing methods.


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