Computer System Reliability: Safety and Usability
Computer systems are increasingly being used at an alarming rate for various purposes. They have become an important element of the world economy because billions of dollars are spent each year to develop, manufacture, operate, and maintain various types of computer systems around the globe. Their reliability, safety, and usability have become an important concern because of problems such as high cost, wrong decisions and actions, and accidental deaths. For example, a study performed by the National Institute of Standards in 2002 found that software defects alone cost the United States economy about $59 billion annually, i.e., around 0.6% of its gross domestic product (GDP).
Computer system reliability, safety, and usability have become more important than ever before. In response, a large number of journal and conference proceedings’ articles on various aspects of computer system reliability, safety, and usability have been published over the years. However, to the best of the author’s knowledge, there is no specific book on the topic. This causes a great deal of difficulty for information seekers because they have to consult many different and diverse sources.
Thus, the main objective of this book is to combine computer system reliability, safety, usability, and other related topics into a single volume and to eliminate the need to consult many different and diverse sources to obtain desired information. The book contains a chapter on mathematical concepts considered necessary to understand the material presented in subsequent chapters.
The topics covered in the volume are treated in such a manner that the reader will require no previous specialized knowledge to understand the contents. At appropriate places, the book contains examples along with their solutions, and at the end of each chapter there are numerous problems to test the reader’s comprehension. The sources of most of the materials presented are given in the reference section at the end of each chapter. An extensive list of publications dating from 1967 to 2011—directly or indirectly related to computer system reliability, safety, and usability—is provided at the end of this book to give readers a view of the intensity of the developments in this area.
The book is composed of 11 chapters. Chapter 1 presents various introductory aspects of computer system reliability including safety; usability-related facts, figures, terms, and definitions; and sources for obtaining useful information on computer system reliability, safety, and usability. Chapter 2 reviews mathematical concepts considered useful to understanding subsequent chapters. Some of the topics covered in the chapter are arithmetic mean and mean deviation, Boolean algebra laws, probability properties, probability distributions, and useful definitions.
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