Poly, San Luis Obispo -- May 11, 2001
Mercury Interactive Donates Software to Cal
Poly Orfalea College of Business
Mercury Interactive of Sunnyvale donated software to Cal Poly's Orfalea
College of Business that will help prepare students for testing and
quality assurance positions upon graduation.
With this donation, Mercury Interactive launches its Academic Access
Program, which aims to "offer students the opportunity to gain
practical experience in understanding and testing complex enterprise
and Web applications in preparation for entry into technology-oriented
careers," said Ken Klein, chief operating officer at Mercury Interactive.
The software, valued by the company at nearly $3.5 million, will be
shared with the College of Engineering. The gift includes functional
and performance testing software, training and technical support. It
will form the basis for lab activities in a new course on software testing
being taught by Patricia McQuaid in the management information systems
area. The software will be used not only in the software testing class,
but also in the software quality class and possibly in future e-commerce
classes, as well as by MIS students working on their senior projects.
"We are pleased to announce Cal Poly as the first member of our
Academic Access Program," said Niraj Kapur, manager of the program.
"Working with leading universities such as Cal Poly, we hope to
develop a strong curriculum that provides students with a competitive
advantage by working with leading-edge technologies prior to graduation.
"Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business and College of Engineering
are both known for preparing students for direct entry into professional
careers. This, coupled with hands-on experience with Mercury Interactive's
industry-leading testing tools, will allow students to be better prepared
for professional positions upon graduation."
McQuaid facilitated the gift during her five-week participation in IBM's
Faculty Partnership Program in summer 2000 in San Jose.
"Software testing has become increasingly important as we rely
more and more on computerized systems, whether it is in our business
processes, hand-held devices, automobiles or the space shuttle,"
McQuaid said. "Developing high-quality software should be a goal
of all software developers.
"This is a very exciting opportunity for our students at Cal Poly,"
McQuaid said. "The donation of this state-of-the-art testing software
will allow our students to not only learn the theory of testing but
also to use the leading software in lab activities."
"It has become increasingly important for students entering the
information technology arena to develop skills in the area of quality
assurance and testing," said Klein. "The Academic Access Program
provides students with this opportunity."
The donated software will allow students to implement two basic types
of application testing: functional testing and load/stress testing.
Functional testing verifies that applications work as expected. For
example, in a flight-booking application, functional testing can verify
that the correct information, such as flight times and prices, is being
pulled from the database and displayed to the user.
An equally important aspect of Web site operations is to know when the
site is becoming stressed, when the site is slowing down and cannot
handle the traffic (customers). Even worse, the Web site can collapse
because too many users are trying to access it at the same time, according
"Before an e-commerce Web application is deployed," explained
McQuaid, "the tester needs to ensure that customers will experience
quick responses from the site as they browse or place an order, and
that those response times will remain steady as the number of users
increases. Load testing provides a way to predict the way an application
will perform as the number of users increases. It exercises an entire
application by emulating the traffic of real users and measuring response
times to pinpoint bottlenecks that might cause the Web site's performance
The two types of testing software -- functional and load/stress --used
together, can ensure the scalability and reliability of a Web application
to greatly improve the experience of the site's end users.
"User experience is key to the successful operation of a Web site,"
McQuaid said, "especially in e-commerce applications, where the
cost of lost business to companies with Web sites that are inoperable
can be staggering."
Don Kawashima, professional development manager at IBM's Global Integrated
Testing Solutions Division in San Jose said, "Dr. McQuaid took
the initiative in developing and providing the leadership to aggressively
put together the testing curriculum and acquisition of the tools. IBM
benefits greatly from the pool of fresh recruits that not only know
software testing theory, but will also have excellent knowledge of software
testing tools and direct testing experience."