Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trust and Guarantees

Bertrand Meyer had me laughing for a change. Obviously trust doesn't mean the same in computer science as it does in normal life; he wants to build 'trusted components -- reusable software elements whose quality can be guaranteed'.

The department of defense actually uses the same misconception: They are initiating a program for verifying the functions of chips manufactured abroad, and call this program TRUST.

Now trust implies that we don't know that a system has a specific property; we assume it has, on more or less sound reasons. Guarantees come via control, at a price. It's the same as in project management; either you have people you can trust to deliver results, or you need processes to control the output (and hopefully only of those you can't trust).

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