As I was rereading an old thread, this question came to mind – how could an algorithmic object like a compiler have reliability? A compiler is a software tool that always produces the same results for a given set of code. The concept of reliability seems incongruous to the concept of compiling. Yet, I often see reference made to the comparative reliability of compilers.
I know that objects like my car have reliability and that embedded software, with all of its temporal variability, can have this attribute. Processes too can have reliability and I often see the development process for software described as being reliable. However, this concept seems to go too far when it is attributed to compilers. It is like saying that the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is reliable.
Perhaps regulation has something to do with this misnomer. Standards are often used to control the development of embedded software and reliability is questioned during audits. Can we defend the reliability of our compilers?