Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


New programming language could create a safer world

Dr David
Pearce

MEDIA RELEASE

9 January 2013
____________________________________________________

New programming language could create a safer world

Research underway at Victoria University into a new programming language has the potential to prevent future software failures in safety-critical systems.

Infamous examples of software failures include the Therac-25 disaster, where a computer-operated radiation therapy machine gave patients lethal doses; and an enormous power outage in the United States in 2003, which led to around 45 million people being without electricity for up to two days.

In New Zealand, software glitches have caused a bank to mistakenly gift its customers unlimited overdraft access (TSB, 2012); a security system to open what should have been a closed supermarket (Mill St Pak ‘n Save in Hamilton, 2011); and broadband meters to incorrectly calculate usage (Telecom, 2011).

Dr David Pearce, from Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, has designed a programming language that uses automated mathematical and logical reasoning to check computer software decisions are correct.
“Currently, the most widely accepted way of eliminating software errors is through extensive testing. But as systems become increasingly complex this cannot always guarantee the absence of errors, because in large systems it simply isn’t feasible to test every possible input,” he says.

“Software is becoming more and more ubiquitous—it’s involved in all sorts of things we do in the modern world. As software engineers we need to find ways of making sure we eliminate as many errors as we possibly can.”

Dr Pearce has been developing the programming language, Whiley, since 2009 and in 2011 received a Marsden Fast-Start grant to further its progression.

Dr Pearce sees Whiley having applications for everyday software programs, as well as highly-specialised software for systems where people’s safety is paramount, such as modern cars, which now typically run on close to 100 million lines of computer code.

“Certain mistakes are common in computer programs, for example overflow errors, where a number is simply too large for the computer to handle,” he says.

“Whiley has the potential to ensure that scenarios like this can be avoided in the future, by testing the logic of the program in advance.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news