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Bug Programming

Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code 116

Posted by timothy
from the stop-thinking-about-my-clairvoyance dept.
mikejuk (1801200) writes "Microsoft Researcher Andrew Begel, together with academic and industry colleagues have been trying to detect when developers are struggling as they work, in order to prevent bugs before they are introduced into code. A paper presented at the 36th International Conference on Software Engineering, reports on a study conducted with 15 professional programmers to see how well an eye-tracker, an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor, and an electroencephalography (EEG) sensor could be used to predict whether developers would find a task difficult. Difficult tasks are potential bug generators and finding a task difficult is the programming equivalent of going to sleep at the wheel. Going beyond this initial investigation researchers now need to decide how to support developers who are finding their work difficult. What isn't known yet is how developers will react if their actions are approaching bug-potential levels and an intervention is deemed necessary. Presumably the nature of the intervention also has to be worked out. So next time you sit down at your coding station consider that in the future they may be wanting to wire you up just to make sure you aren't a source of bugs. And what could possibly be the intervention?"
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Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code

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  • Premise flawed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2014 @02:24PM (#47642829)
    It seems to me that when I find code very easy is when it is probably wrong. When it is more difficult it gets more concentration and analysis. When it seems "this is dead simple" - that's probably when I missed something (maybe some edge cases not being taken into account or whatever).
  • Intervention? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2014 @02:31PM (#47642859)

    What isn’t known yet is how developers will react if their actions are approaching bug-potential levels and an intervention is deemed necessary.

    Intervention - you get fired.

    In software development/IT/software "engineering" asking questions is considered to be a sign of stupidity. So, you better search and search the internet. Spend all your time learning the code - and KEEP your deadline.

    We need to get a job done. Spinning one's wheels for hours, days, or whatever over something that can be answered in 5 minutes is idiotic, but that's what you gotta do or you're an idiot. I know, I have been called an idiot because I asked questions. I try to be efficient - reading is slow - POINT me to the area. But Nooooo! Gotta bust your balls!

    When one hears after asking a question, "If you asked that then you don't belong here!!"

    Well. We didn't get much done.

    The PHBs fired us and hired H1-Bs - who I had to explain what those asterisks mean in C code.

    Whatever, guys.

    I walk into an interview and I'm told, "Tell me what the layers are for a network stack."

    And I ask, "Well, whose opinion of what a network stack should be? Tanenbaum's? Afterall, it's just his opinion."

    Blank stare.

    I can't remember; it's been years since I had to memorize that. I say, "If it is really important, I can memorize all of that again."

    I then ask, "Why, are you writing your own stack? I've done that."

    "No."

    Alrighty then.

    Feedback from recruiter: "You do not have the skills."

    You know, there are a bunch of people who are looking for work - people who know their stuff - and yet, they are dismissed.

    And I see companies who say they cannot get qualified people - for their social network nonsense or whatever software.

    Every bright kid I know who is good at math and science, I just say, "The only worthwhile STEM profession is the 'M'. Stay away from engineering, software, and tech. Medical."

    Everyone in my family who is in medical from nurses to doctors have none of the problems we have in tech - none.

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @03:00PM (#47642957) Homepage
    The story has a good premise: Can we measure the programmer's emotional and cognitive states to predict when they're more likely to produce buggy code? That's a fair question. Where it loses it is when it jumps from that to the assumption that difficulty (and thus concentration) is the mental state in which bugs are produced. Hopefully that was just a case of the reporter missing the point.

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