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Paper: Quality Software: What does it Mean?
Volume: 522, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXVII
Page: 559
Authors: Rees, N.
Abstract: The SKA is a major international project which will generate transformational science in the realm of metre and centimetre astronomy. It can be described as a “software telescope”, with RF signals being digitized directly and generating aggregated data rates of up to 1.7 Petabits/sec from the antennas, and intermediate data rates in the signal chain of 5 Terabits/sec. The telescope is being designed by 10 pre-construction consortia with input from around 250 institutes world-wide and is scheduled to enter the construction phase around 2019. The consortia are estimating that the computing construction costs are in the 170 million Euro range, roughly evenly split between software and hardware. Many of these numbers are unprecedented in astronomy and this has led to much soul searching. Since 2016 the SKA Organization, which coordinates the design consortia, has used software quality, in all its forms, as a way of rationalizing key design decisions and defining primary project processes. Whilst most of this could be seen as being based on best practices elsewhere in the software industry, it has brought a number of fresh perspectives that have not been actively explored in many astronomy projects. This paper will present some of these perspectives.
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