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Businesses Programming Idle

Autism Traits Prove Valuable for Software Testing 180

Back in 2009 we ran a story about a Chicago based non-profit company that trained high-functioning autistic people to be software testers. Two years later Aspiritech has grown to offer services in Belgium, Japan and Israel. Autistic debuggers are used by large clients like Oracle and Microsoft and have proven to be so good in fact that companies are now recruiting to meet demand. From the article: "Aspiritech's board of directors includes social service providers, therapists, a vocational expert and a software engineer. The nonprofit also received start-up advice and consultation from Keita Suzuki, who has co-founded a similar company, called Kaien, in Japan. Aspiritech has hired and trained seven recruits with Asperger's syndrome. These recruits have since worked on software-testing projects for smartphone and cloud-computing applications. Aspiritech now offers functional-, compatibility- and regression-testing, as well as test-case development, with experience in cloud-computing platforms including Salesforce."
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Autism Traits Prove Valuable for Software Testing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @08:49PM (#37620492)

    I have asperger.. I'm glad that there's more & more peeps who see that its not a disability; but rather a unique way of looking at the world.

    Its really not the same worldpicture you 'normals' see... I can really get upset if i see 'wrongs' in this world. Just as i feel in a way that it's the same as seeing 'wrongs' in software or hardware. I wont be able to put it behind me; or just to buy something to make me feel good... Or just accept that my boss says its the rigth thing; or that there's no money or something 'reasonable' like that.

    You talk about training.. Its not training; its in the core being who you are. Are you dedicated enough to spend ALL your energy (&that's the same amount of energy that you have) in trying to get the job done.. to find ALL the things that are wrong with something? (& not be at home spending time on your cat/girl/man/car/career/whatever).

    Peeps who have the same as i have, generally can focus ALL of their attention to the project they are dedicated to. Totally emerce yourself in a project; even if it takes longer than you think; even if it means skipping a few days of sleep..

    I'm sure you are a dedicated individual; that has the ability to do his/her job right.. But i generally don't see the (not negatively meant) singlemindedness/focus i can put in something that interest me.

    I can see that there are cases that let Asperger's syndrome be an advantage (the same way as i have seen it being a disadvantage in my life sometimes) when checking out something.

    Too bad you dismiss it as irrelevant. Maybe someday in the future you will understand the pro's and cons of someone with asperger.

    I'm glad my current employer understands... I do know she's happy that i'm there; even though i sometimes do things 'normals' dont expect, or do. & sometimes i cost more of her energy..

    I also know that i've saved the company a lot of resources just because i happen to think 'out of the box' & do things my way; not the way peeps expect you to be/perform.

  • Re:And.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @11:35PM (#37622024)

    No, unfortunately, if only it where that simple. Womb environment cannot be separated from genetic or epigenetic influence via these methods which only conciser one generation, or even for grandparent/ parent/ child traces, particularly because all three can be multi-generational. Womb environment can appear to have affects 2 generations after the trigger if you are pregnant with a girl at the time of the trigger (as eggs are formed during gestation not after birth). Epigenetic effects although non genetic are perpetuated, such as methaylation of the DNA(which is copied to the new strand after replication), they can fade but are inherited beyond womb environment.

  • Re:And.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rla3rd ( 596810 ) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @11:37PM (#37622034)
    And the most recent twin study proves that autism is largely environmental.

    "But surprisingly, mathematical modeling suggested that only 38 percent of the cases could be attributed to genetic factors, compared with the 90 percent suggested by previous studies."

    This study would disagree with you.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/health/research/05autism.html [nytimes.com]
  • by MarkRose ( 820682 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @03:34AM (#37623160) Homepage

    I wouldn't say it's the reverse. They're more like expressions of the same thing. With ADD, attention is side tracked in many different ways. With Asperger's Syndrome, the attention is stuck on a few special interests. That can work fantastically well if the aspie finds the topic at hand interesting, but can be fantastically awful if the topic is uninteresting. Myself, I have a great deal of trouble focusing on anything I'm not interested in and usually find my thinking returning to my special interest de jour. One trick I use when faced with a boring task is to find a clever or more optimal way to do it, since that challenge can make it more interesting. In either case, the challenge is what makes it easy for me to get in the zone and work at something for hours, but being interrupted while in the zone is frustrating and I'll usually avoid getting in the zone if I'm likely to be interrupted within an hour or two and my output will be low. I often wonder what it's like to be "normal" and to be able to get stuff done while only being half focused (not in the zone).

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @03:48AM (#37623218) Homepage

    Now, I don't like such absolutes as "never", because they're so... absolute. It's fully possible to, while following the scientific method perfectly, prove a hypothesis correct. It just takes a very particular kind of hypothesis, and a very particular kind of experiment.

    As an example, consider the hypothesis that of Foo, Bar, and Baz, Foo is the most quiggle. This hypothesis can indeed be proven correct, but only by testing every possibility, which of course results in proving other hypotheses wrong.

    As for the fields of pharmacology and medical science, your complaint of worthless research seems to be based on the assumption that only perfect knowledge is worthwhile. Quite the contrary, actually: Medical treatments can be effective even if we don't know why. The pain-relieving quality of willow bark was known 2300 years before its pharmacological mechanism was understood. Research into new treatments is very valuable, even without full understanding of the mechanisms involved. Of course such knowledge is preferred, but that's another several years of research after the initial findings.

    The only "huge issue" I see with pharmacology and medical science is that they're so intently watched by the media and "science fans" for any sign of a coming miracle cure, in the constant hunt for headlines. Any finding of anything affecting any kind of cancer cells is reported as a "potential cure". In the actual research paper, the findings are almost always stated exactly as they should be: some indications, little concrete evidence, and suggestions for further avenues of research. Other sciences are picking up this attention, as well, but still usually maintain their integrity. Electrical engineering hits the news whenever some transparent, tiny, or shiny prototype finally works. Psychologists are asked for comment when there's a serial killer running amok. Sociology has its fifteen minutes of fame when there's some new theory to explain 4chan. Disease is just constantly affecting millions of people, so it's always interesting news.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!