[plt-scheme] Perplexed Programmers

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Wed Aug 29 22:12:05 EDT 2007

On Aug 29, 2007, at 9:38 PM, Shriram Krishnamurthi wrote:

> By the way, I think there are ways in which software is far ahead of
> the engineering competition.  When you build a house, it does not come
> with several built-in monitors and indices that you can use to easily
> tell why it collapsed (if it unfortunately did so), as opposed to
> having to reconstruct why painfully and via sophisticated forensics.
> But computer scientists have realized that they can and should build
> the equivalent of "flight safety recorders", and several such things
> are now routinely built into software.  Even DrScheme, which is not
> especially sophisticated in this regard, gathers a good deal of useful
> (but not personal!) data when you submit a bug report to provide
> context for the problem.  This kind of introspective construction is
> now considered standard good practice in software, but is hardly the
> norm in physical engineering.

Hm, I would have claimed similar things until last year. It's
not true anymore and it's just amazing what structural engineers
to inspect infrastructure artifacts. (Like payroll systems,
ordinary houses don't come with monitors of the kind you imagine,
and people don't invest in the inspection facilities that exist.
But for many high-quality construction things, they do. The big
dig is exempted of course.)

-- Matthias

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