Arthur Hicken of Parasoft is a man who calls himself a code curmudgeon. It's a strange title - many of those involved in the world of coding are optimistic about the future of technology and the possibilities of programming. Hicken is these things, of course - but he's also passionate about the need for serious avionics software testing, according to Avionics Intelligence.
Because the stakes are so high when it comes to embedded software, companies need to be sure that they are doing all that they can to keep customers safe. If Microsoft Word goes down, he notes, it causes an often irritating but rarely catastrophic problem for the users of the software - no one's safety, for instance, is threatened, unless a writer is so frustrated they take it out on officemates with their keyboard. But in avionics, the stakes go up.
"Once the software is sitting somewhere that is hard/expensive/impossible to update, then quality takes on a stronger meaning," said Hicken. "In the realm of a mission-critical device, failure, even small can endanger lives or even kill. The cost of updating is secondary to the risk, and quality becomes paramount."