The cleanroom software engineering process is a software development process intended to produce software with a certifiable level of reliability. The cleanroom process was originally developed by Harlan Mills and several of his colleagues including Alan Hevner at IBM. The focus of the cleanroom process is on defect prevention, rather than defect removal. The name "cleanroom" was chosen to evoke the cleanrooms used in the electronics industry to prevent the introduction of defects during the fabrication of semiconductors. The cleanroom process first saw use in the mid to late 1980s. Demonstration projects within the military began in the early 1990s. Recent work on the cleanroom process has examined fusing cleanroom with the automated verification capabilities provided by specifications expressed in CSP.
Cleanroom development uses an iterative approach, in which the product is developed in increments that gradually increase the implemented functionality. The quality of each increment is measured against pre-established standards to verify that the development process is proceeding acceptably. A failure to meet quality standards results in the cessation of testing for the current increment, and a return to the design phase.
Software testing in the cleanroom process is carried out as a statistical experiment. Based on the formal specification, a representative subset of software input/output trajectories is selected and tested. This sample is then statistically analyzed to produce an estimate of the reliability of the software, and a level of confidence in that estimate.