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

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Trading Places

Greg Clydesdale, a lecturer in business at Lincoln University, has written a comprehensive account of global trade from the seventh century to modern times. More>>

Sheep: Shearing Record Smashed In Hawke’s Bay

Three shearers gathered from around New Zealand have smashed a World record by 264 sheep despite the heat, the pumiced sheep of inland Hawke’s Bay and a year’s wool weighing an average of over 3.5kg a sheep. More>>

ALSO:

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    ALSO:

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news