Quality Assurance / Quality Control
May 20, 2011
The development team at SoilVision Systems Ltd. (SVS) has implemented, refined, and improved an extensive quality assurance / quality control (QAQC) program over the past 15 years which we feel is one of the best in the industry. The QAQC program at SVS is under constant extension to ensure that new features added to the software are included in the umbrella of the existing QAQC program. The extensiveness of the QAQC program has allowed geotechnical consultants to utilize the software on many world-class projects with confidence.
Since a well-defined QAQC standard does not currently exist for the geotechnical software market we offer the following principles and aspects upon which our software QAQC program is established:
VERIFICATION THROUGH BENCHMARKS
- All software is documented with the following manuals. Verification manuals are publicly available for all our software packages and may be downloaded from the respective product pages on our website.
- User's manual
- Theory manual
- Verification manual
- Tutorial manual
- Examples manual (in some cases)
- Our verification manuals are the most extensive of any geotechnical software company
- The verification manuals compare our software to both journal-published solutions as well as comparable software packages
- All models presented in the verification manuals are distributed as free examples to be examined by end users.
- Each release of our software requires a re-running of all established benchmarks compiled by SoilVision Systems Ltd.
- This database of benchmarks includes:
- Over 150 2-D slope stability models
- Over 25 3-D slope stability models
- SVSLOPE® has provided reasonable comparison to all known benchmarks.
- SVSLOPE® is actively reviewed and improved on an on-going basis and by highly qualified geotechnical professionals.
- SVSLOPE® QAQC Report
SOFTWARE REVISION HISTORY
- All historical changes to the SVOffice software suite code are tracked through a version-control system.
- All development issues (bugs and features) are tracked through an extensive web-based issue tracking software system.
SUPPORT ISSUE TRACKING
- All support issues are tracked through an extensive issue tracking system to ensure proper resolution.
- Our software uses a math scripting language for the formulation of models which, for the most part, means our mathematical formulations are open to our customers for examination. This ensures transparency regarding the formulation which is being solved.
- SVS employs qualified professionals with advanced degrees who are specialists in the field of numerical formulations and their application in the fields of geotechnical and hydrological engineering.
- The SVSLOPE® solver was developed in collaboration with world-renowned slope stability expert Prof. Del Fredlund.
- The development team of SVSLOPE® included people trained under Prof. Fredlund, Prof. Morgenstern, and Prof. Yamagammi.
- SVSLOPE® has been reviewed by Prof. Hungr.
- Extensive automated testing of the graphical user interface (GUI) is performed prior to each release.
- All benchmarks are run through the software prior to each release and their correctness is compared to established solutions.
- The library for testing the correctness of SVSLOPE solutions contains over 150 2-D benchmarks and 25 3-D benchmarks. The solutions for each of these models are compared to established solutions prior to each release of an updated version.
- A summary of changes to the software may be found here.
- Clients may request monthly "Release Reports" which list all new versions and a list of all passed checks for $400 US per month.
SVOffice has been used extensively in the geotechnical and hydrological industries and is considered to be robust and capable software. Our extensive QAQC program allows us to innovate quickly in the software while retaining reliability of produced results.
A FURTHER NOTE ON THE VERIFICATION PROCESS
The word "Verification", when used in connection with computer software can be defined as "the ability of the computer code to provide a solution consistent with the physics of the problem". There are also other factors such as initial conditions, boundary conditions, and control variables that may affect the accuracy of the code to perform as stated.
"Verification" is generally achieved by solving a series of so-called "benchmark" problems. "Benchmark" problems are problems for which there is a closed-form solution or for which the solution has become "reasonably certain" as a result of longhand calculations that have been performed. Publication of the "benchmark" solutions in research journals or textbooks also lends credibility to the solution.
There are also example problems that have been solved and published in User Manual documentation associated with other comparable software packages. While these are valuables checks to perform, it must be realized that it is possible that errors can be transferred from one's software solution to another.
Consequently, care must be taken in performing the "verification" process on a particular software package. It must also be remembered there is never such a thing as complete software verification for "all" possible problems. Rather, it is an ongoing process that establishes credibility with time. SoilVision Systems takes the process of "verification" most seriously and has undertaken a wide range of steps to ensure that the SVOFFICE software will perform as intended.