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Bug Programming

Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code 116

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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  • by janoc ( 699997 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @03:07PM (#47642985)

    Mod parent up, please, this is spot on. You do this sort of "research" when you need to justify that the expensive toys you bought are actually used for something.

    When I have seen the list of sensors they are sticking on the user, this has nothing to do with anything even remotely practical (have you seen a typical EEG sensor cap or eye tracker?). All the researchers are doing is running the test subject through a battery of experiments and classifying few measured values, based on some correlations - in an artificial setting.

    This completely ignores the complexity of the problem - such as the biggest problem being constant interruptions from managers and colleagues, distractions in a noisy cubicle, bad specs, poor/inadequate tools, etc. What they are proposing is basically a Clippy on steroids with a ton of expensive sensors. Such papers are published a dime a dozen (google "assistive agents" for example), not sure why exactly this one got picked out as somehow interesting.

  • by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @07:38PM (#47644219)

    Honestly, I find my buggiest code is the easiest crap that I'm just not paying attention to. The moment I have a solid challenge my interest peaks and getting it singing perfectly is the only acceptable end result. It may take a few tries but it's what I thrive on. I'm my least productive and most careless on the routine pointless tasks.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith