Robyn Lutz recently won an NSF-ARRA award to create techniques that improve the reliability of software product lines. A software product line is a family of software systems that share certain common features and differ according to a set of specified variations. Use of software product lines has grown rapidly in industry because such reuse reduces the cost of building new systems.
Reliability is important to product-line developers since many product lines, such as mobile phones, industrial robots, and surgical imaging systems, require reliable operation. This project focuses on development of a rigorous framework for incremental assessment and prediction of software product line reliability (SPL-iRAP). The research has three major thrusts: (1) developing reliability modeling techniques for software product lines to handle the effects of variations and ongoing changes, (2) investigating the use of reliability models for prediction across the product line based on empirical data, and (3) quantifying the benefit of the reuse on software quality. The researchers will train students, particularly women and underrepresented groups, in software reliability techniques, create new curriculum units for teaching, and partner with industrial developers of product lines to demonstrate the new techniques.