SE320 Assignment 1: Essay on Software Failure

You are asked to write a four-page essay describing a real software failure, its impact, and the possible ways the failure could have been avoided. A real software failure is one that actually occurred and had a non-trivial impact (e.g., it was mentioned in the media). You are encouraged to research several software failures but are asked to choose only one failure to describe in your survey. Recall that during class lectures the instructor mentioned several examples of software failure. Software failure has been documented in books such as Computer Related Risks (Addison-Wesley), by P. G. Neumann. However, there are other on-line sources for software failure to help conduct your research.

Essays should be submitted via e-mail to the instructor as a single PDF file. The essay should: have an appropriate title, your name, the date, page numbers, the text should be in single spaced 10pt font, the total essay should not exceed 4 pages (that includes the bibliography). Make sure to cite the sources used in the essay in the bibliography section of the essay (last page).

Essays will be graded on the quality of the writing (e.g., structure, grammar, spelling, formating), the quality of the research, and the clarity of the arguments made on how the failure could have been avoided.

The purpose of this assignment is for students to gain an appreciation of the important role that software plays in modern societies and to prepare them to make positive contributions to enhance that role.