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Software Failure, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 459

Research Paper

Computers are but machines, and somehow, a lot of individuals today would not care so much if computers do undergo particular bugs that basically challenge their existence and performance. However, unlike such mundane vision, computers, being the central functioning machines in a modern world, have a great impact on the lives of people. This is especially true when particular programs misbehave affecting several [or many] individuals which jeopardizes their daily activities. In this discussion, two particularly distinct cases of software failures shall be given specific attention to; especially when it comes to determining the real value of their function to the overall operation of the computers to which they are installed in.

One of the failures mentioned in history includes the Mariner Bug of 1962. This failure caused an approximate value of $18.5 million loss to NASA as it released the probe directed towards Venus; but later on changed its course. The failure was attributed to the missed command by the programmer. He has accidentally transcribed a written computer program, wherein he missed a single superscript bar which later on created a process that mandated the machine to create faulty corrections leading it to the wrong direction. This could have been avoided if trial and error activities were held before the probe was actually launched. Perhaps not thinking that anything could go wrong, the careless send-out of such probe cost much more than a supposedly preventive trial and error activity that could have been engaged in within the process of refurnishing the procedures of development within operation before any launch was scheduled and pushed through.

Another remarkable failure is that of the 1990 AT&T network system collapse causing 75 million US calls to fail from being received at the other end of the line. The 114 switching centers of the company has suffered a supposedly minor problem that has caused the loss of business transactions from different organizations connected through the AT&T lines. The problem was a caused by a single line of code that was not properly encoded and was mistakenly decoded by the system therefore prompting a faulty function. This problem could have been resolved through setting up an automatic alarm system [that would be aided through a single strain of command] basically detecting any possible anomalies that would occur in the lines.

These errors have most likely been incurred due to the existence of human carelessness. The programmers also had ample time to have prepared for such anomalies. However, as seen in the result, such anomalies basically caused more damage than the supposed function they were expected to be noted for.

Work Cited

Engelhardt, Sebastian (2008). “The Economic Properties of Software“. Jena Economic Research Papers 2 (2008–045.).

Meyer, Bertrand. (2008). “Seven Principles of Software Testing,” Computer, vol. 41, no. 8, pp. 99–101,

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