Software Has Limits

As I write this, somewhere around 8,000 people are stuck in LAX waiting to go through customs because of a computer glitch.

Frankly, I am amazed this doesn’t happen more often. This reminds me of a book I recently read called The Limits of Software. Anyone who is curious about why computers and software so frequently don’t work properly would benefit from reading it.

The Limits of Software is a sort of docu-drama in book form about the massive failed attempt at upgrading the Federal Aviation Administration’s ancient computer systems. The event is a case-study proving that all the money in the world can’t make the impossible happen. But since the government can just spend, spend, spend, they sure did give the impossible a try. I highly recommend this book for programmers or anyone who wants to understand what kind of problems programmers are always trying to solve.

What it all boils down to is that software is a means of describing abstract human thought for computers to understand and implement in reality. It will never be perfect.

No consolation for the 8,000 poor folks stranded in LAX, I know.

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