EDS-SCICON (PAC 1999-2000/108)|
Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from
the National Audit Office
At yesterday's presentation the Chairman asked about
the role played by EDS-SCICON in verifying the software in the
FADEC of the Chinook Mk 2. We have spoken to Fred Bullock the
current managing director of EDS Defence (formerly EDS-SCICON).
He was not in post at the time when EDS-SCICON were contracted
to verify the software in the FADEC of the Chinook but was able
to provide some background on the work undertaken on that contract.
In particular, he confirmed that:
EDS would not have expected to find
any Category 1 anomalies in the software they were testing and
would have expected far less Category 2 anomalies than were listed.
He noted that EDS-SCICON had been sufficiently concerned about
the safety implications of their findings to stop testing and
to raise their concerns immediately with Hawker Siddeley (who
produced the software under sub-contract from Textron-Lycoming)
rather than waiting to produce a final report having tested all
the software. Mr Bullock told us that EDS-SCICON were unhappy
with the response they received from Hawker Siddeley who dismissed
the concerns as being trivial;
while he was aware that EDS had undertaken
a significant amount of verification of software systems in the
early 1990s using Static Code Analysis it was not a technique
they used very much now. In his words EDS have found that as a
testing technique it is difficult to add value to what the client
is doing. He also noted that his firm has tended to be undercut
by smaller software consultancies that can generally perform such
testing more cheaply;
he would have to ask his staff to
look in the firm's archives to find other specific examples where
they had used Static Code Analysis to evaluate software and the
findings which such testing had produced.
Mr Bullock emphasised to us that, whilst he
had spoken to colleagues, his comments were only preliminary given
the time constraints. He confirmed, however, that he would be
happy to offer further assistance if requested.
Director, National Audit Office
8 March 2000