The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 94 (2016) > Issue 3 > What is the need for verification, validation and quality assurance of computer-aided calculation?
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What is the need for verification, validation and quality assurance of computer-aided calculation?

Modern computer-aided calculations are a significant advantage in the design of structures, whether simple or complex. Software developers invest in the development of tools that are increasingly simple to use; engineers then use those tools to develop and, to a large extent, test the possible structural configurations. The software will then, in many cases, present design calculations and code checks allowing a semi-automated documentation of the design.

The underlying questions are: how do we know that the results are reasonably correct; and who is responsible if there is a failure? The answer to the second question is that the Chartered Engineer leading the design project is responsible; the answer to the first point is quality assurance. For engineering analysis, the major tools for quality assurance are the twin processes of verification and validation (V&V). In very simple terms, verification is the demonstration that the mathematics and numerics are correct; validation is the demonstration that the idealisation of the physics is correct.

As V&V underpin any quality assurance system, this paper discusses the need for V&V and indicates who is primarily responsible for the two processes: software developer or design engineer.

Author(s): C. Rogers (CREA Consultants Ltd)