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Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science (MASc)

Department

Computing and Software

Supervisor

Spencer Smith

Abstract

Considerable emphasis in scientific computing (SC) software development has been placed on the software qualities of performance and correctness. How ever, other software qualities have received less attention, such as the qualities of usability, maintainability, testability and reusability.

Presented in this work is a survey titled "Survey on Developing Scientific Computing Software", which is apparently the first conducted to explore the current approaches to SC software development and to determine which qualities of SC software are in most need of improvement. From the survey we found that systematic development process is frequently not adopted in the SC software community, since 58% of respondents mentioned that their entire development process potentially consists only of coding and debugging. Moreover, semi-formal and formal specification is rarely used when developing SC software, which is suggested by the fact that 70% of respondents indicate that they only use informal specification.

In terms of the problems in SC software development, which are discovered by analyzing the survey results, a solution is proposed to improve the quality of SC software by using SE methodologies, concretely, using a modified Parnas' Rational Design Process (PRDP) and the Unified Software Development Process (USDP). A comparison of the two candidate processes is provided to help SC software practitioners determine which of the two pro cesses fits their particular situation. To clarify the discussion of PRDP and USDP for SC software and to help SC software practitioners better understand how to use PRDP and USDP in SC software, a completely documented one-dimensional numerical integration solver (ONIS) example is presented for both PRDP and USDP.

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