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Software Metrics: An Analysis and Evaluation

journal contribution
posted on 1981-01-01, 00:00 authored by Alan Perlis, Frederick Sayward, Mary Shaw

Software metrics is a new area of computer science designed to enable programmers and other practitioners to assign quantitative indexes of merit to software. In this volume, "software" is defined broadly as a generic for all the stages of tailoring a computer system to solve a problem. Software Metrics is the first book to survey this new area, measuring its present extent, describing its characteristic features, and indicating directions of potential expansion.

The aim of the articles included in the book is to provide precise, quantified answers to such questions as: What are the memory requirements of the software? The speed requirements? What is the cost of production? The likely time schedule of production? When will it have to be replaced? What manpower loading should be used? how close to its limits is the system expected to run? What levels of satisfactory testing are sufficient? How well does the testing environment approximate the execution environment? What is the enhancement cost? To what extent has the problem—of the technology—moved beyond the program? Would it cost less to rebuild the system than to maintain and enhance it?

"In software, evolutionary complexity is probably more important than the classical time and space measures with which computer science has been concerned so far," the editors note in their introductory overview. This overview gauges the range of the book's fifteen contributions by the major developers of software metrics.




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