CADE advances to operational testing

The IRS and Computer Sciences Corp. next week will start operational testing of the new taxpayer database at the IRS Martinsburg, W.Va., facility, a CSC official said today. The operational testing will last for six weeks, through May.

CSC is the lead vendor of the Prime alliance, which is modernizing the IRS' business systems. The foundation of that is the Customer Account Data Engine, which will replace the 40-year-old tape-based Master File. CSC also has developed individual and business taxpayer e-services for the IRS.

Despite long schedule delays and huge budget overruns, CADE appears to be on track Both the IRS and CSC say they expect to activate the first release of the Customer Account Data Engine in late summer.

CSC has completed system integration testing, in which it took assembled code and tested it against a variety of scripts of business process conditions, Paul Cofoni, CSC federal sector president, said in an interview. CSC also has completed system or user acceptance testing, in which the IRS has used its own sets of scripts to test the system.

CSC is now completing regression testing, in which it retests repairs made to failures in CADE. After individually retesting them, CSC retests the whole string of fixes 'to make sure any of the fixes didn't injure some other part of the system,' Cofoni said. Regression testing should last about another week, he said. The error rate on the regression test is below 1 percent. 'The code is very stable,' he said. The errors have not been major. 'We've been turning the errors around in two to several days and tested them individually before we put them back in the systems environment and do a systems test,' he said.

For the operational pilot, CSC production staff will work side by side with IRS IT professionals at the Martinsburg facility. CSC will operate the system in a simulated real time with real volumes and real data, simulating a peak time period for the filing season. CSC does that in semi-real time. 'It means if this were the filing season, and we had 24 hours to do this work, we're doing it in 24 hours,' Cofoni said.

CSC is performing the operations on the first pass, then IRS staff step up and take control on the second pass. CSC is using a month's worth of peak season work with CADE and processing it that way so CSC and the IRS can get both the final simulation of production volumes and live data. During the six-week pilot, CSC will also train IRS IT professionals to operate CADE. Click for GCN story.

When the system goes into production in late summer, it will catch the tail end of the filing season when volumes in production are light. CSC will continue to be at the Martinsburg facility to support production for the IRS, Cofoni said.

CSC is now planning to build into CADE the tax law changes made this year and retest the system so come January, CADE will be ready for the peak filing season and process the 1040 EZ returns through the system, he said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.


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