Re: [SystemSafety] Engineering depends on making arguments (was Re: Fwd: Measurement + Control)

From: Les Chambers < >
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 2013 00:43:35 +1000

I couldn't agree more. Two months ago a man called me with a problem. He was trying to sell a software product to a bank. The bank wanted independent validation that the product actually performed all the functions he claimed. He had no functionalional specification so I could make no argument that it did. No argument - no sale. Cheers

> > Engineering is not about making "arguments."
> At one level, the statement is trivially true. Engineering is (by
> definition) about constructing practical products. The desired end result
> is, for example, a bridge, not the designs and analyses of the bridge.
> But at another level, the statement is false. Producing the desired end
> product necessarily requires specification, design, analysis, and associated
> activities. These activities in turn necessarily produce results, which are
> usually embodied in documents. These documents necessarily contain many
> arguments. Some of these arguments may be explicit (for example,
> calculations about the load that a particular truss must support). Some of
> these arguments may be implicit (for example, the implicit argument
> underlying a decision to adopt a particular design as sufficiently safe based
> on the results of a thorough hazard analysis). Whether implicit or explicit,
> arguments permeate every aspect of engineering.
> Arguments are not the end product of engineering, as they are of philosophy.
> But without arguments, there is no engineering.
> --
> C. Michael Holloway
> Disclaimer: My opinions are mine alone. Give neither blame nor credit to my
> employer for them.
> //

Les Chambers
+61 (0)412 648 992

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Received on Mon Dec 16 2013 - 15:44:05 CET

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