Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FDS Configuration Management Plan

Some of you who participate in the FDS/SMV Discussion Group might have noticed an interesting thread lately that concerned the process that we use to update versions of FDS and Smokeview:


In the US and worldwide, there are various standards used to evaluate the process by which engineering software is developed and maintained. For example, NQA-1 and ISO 9001 come to mind. Just do a search on these terms for more information.

The "process" that I speak of goes beyond the technical description of the model algorithm and the Verification and Validation (V&V) work that is documented in the FDS Technical Reference Guide, volumes 1, 2 and 3. It involves everything we do on a daily basis to develop and maintain the model and the software -- this blog, the Discussion Group, the Issue Tracker, the repository, and so on. Because questions like those in the discussion thread above need to be answered, we have issued volume 4 of the FDS Technical Reference Guide:


"Configuration Management" is the term that is commonly used to describe the process of developing and maintaining software.

For those of you who have an interest in this aspect of our work, please let us know what we can add to this Guide to make it easier for you to use. If there is information missing, let us know and we'll add it. We'd prefer that this Guide not get needlessly filled with useless information and excessively bureaucratic language. It should be a straight-forward description of what we do to maintain FDS and Smokeview.

Also, if you or your organization have put FDS/SMV through some sort of "process evaluation" and you are at liberty to share your experience, please do. One of the most important aspects of these process evaluations is peer review, and that term is used in the broadest sense. For example, our experience with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a good example of peer review in that this organization has evaluated our models for certain types of applications. It is a bit tedious to do one of these evaluations starting from scratch. It would be far better to refer to what others have done already.

Monday, March 30, 2009

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Kevin McGrattan
National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8663
Gaithersburg MD 20899
Phone: 301 975 2712
Fax: 301 975 4052