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What is Quality Assurance?

What is Quality Assurance (QA) in the software development world?

This one will be the most popular question,with the widest variety of answers, which by its own gives me a good reason to answer it.
So, I will start with dictionary(Wikipedia) definition:

Quality assurance, or QA (in use from 1973) for short, is the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service or facility to maximize the probability that minimum standards of quality are being attained by the production process. QA cannot absolutely guarantee the production of quality products.

By large this is a nice definition, though it has two issues that need to be discussed further more:
1.minimum standard of quality.
2.quality of a product.
But before we go there let me say something about "assurance"