Software bugs cost $59.5 billion a year, study says

Software bugs cost the U.S. economy an estimated US$59.5 billion per year, or 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product, according to a newly released study by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In a statement released on Friday, NIST said more than half the costs are borne by software users and the remainder by software developers and vendors. Additionally, the study found that although errors cannot be removed, more than a third of the costs, or an estimated $22.2 billion, could be eliminated by improved testing that enables earlier and more effective identification and removal of defects.

Currently, more than half of errors are not found until "downstream" in the development process or during post-sale use of software, according to NIST.

The study was funded by NIST and conducted by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in North Carolina.

NIST said software is error-ridden in part because of growing complexity. Developers already spend about 80 percent of development costs on identifying and correcting defects, and yet few products of any type other than software are shipped with so many errors.

Other factors contributing to quality problems include marketing strategies, limited liability by software vendors, and decreasing returns on testing and debugging, the study found. The core issue is difficulty in defining and measuring software quality, according to NIST.

RTI in its study identified a set of quality attributes and used them to construct metrics to estimate costs of inadequate testing infrastructures. Based on similarities across different industries with respect to software development and use, RTI projected the cost to the entire U.S. economy to be $59.5 billion annually.

To boost software quality, testing needs to be improved, NIST said. Standardized testing tools, suites, scripts, reference data, and implementations and metrics that have undergone a rigorous certification process would have a large impact on inadequacies that now plague software markets, NIST said.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?