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Very senior embedded real-time systems programmer (Texas law is very picky about the use of the term "engineer"), unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Congress, and unreconstructed Cold Warrior.

Apr
26
comment Is there a way to use a higher level language in a competition that only has C, C++ and Java by default?
You just brought back memories of the ACM programming competitions I attended at Texas A&M in the early 1970s. (I was a UT Austin student.) We could use FORTRAN or COBOL. They gave us IBM 029 key punches, and they wrote the JCL for us, since some of us came from schools that didn't teach on IBM computers.
Apr
26
answered Why does Donald Knuth write TAOCP using assembly language?
Apr
25
answered Unit Test code generation
Apr
25
awarded  Good Answer
Apr
25
answered Is the algorithm more important than the programming language?
Apr
25
awarded  Nice Answer
Apr
25
answered Testing multi-threaded race conditions
Apr
24
comment Options for Opensource license?
+1 for understanding that "Free Software" != "Open Source".
Apr
24
comment Is it OK to split long functions and methods into smaller ones even though they won't be called by anything else?
@exizt: Yes, it does. So what? If you coded the function correctly, it is OK for other things to call it, if they need its functionality.
Apr
24
comment Looking for session/event analytics analysis tool
What you have here is almost identical to the tree-building phase of Huffman coding.
Apr
23
answered Approach to simplifying an algorithm
Apr
23
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
That "one error" was a special case. The Shuttle was originally designed, and the software specified, for two robot arms. The "error" was that there was still code in there to support the second arm.
Apr
23
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
"Expensive" is relative. Compare the cost of finding and fixing the bugs with the cost of e.g. a radiotherapy machine killing several patients and maiming several others. (Google "Therac 25".)
Apr
23
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
@Mikey: What are the odds that a compiler will emit a correct binary for incorrect source, where "correct" in this context means correct for the final product? If your source has bugs, a correct compiler will either detect them and refuse to compile, or it will faithfully reproduce those bugs in the object code.
Apr
22
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
Your example servers to highlight a fairly obvious observation about programming language and tool quality. A production-quality compiler for a robust language should have refused to compile your first example, returning instead a fatal compilation error. That it is even POSSIBLE to compile such an abomination tells you everything you need to know about the quality of those tools, and the feasibility of their use for delivering bug-free software.
Apr
22
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
I will stipulate that typical programmers, using the programming languages and tools that are common today, quite possibly are incapable of producing bug-free code. This is a comment on those programmers and on those languages and tools.
Apr
22
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
You have a choice. Either you believe that bug-free code is impossible, or you believe that it is possible. Prior to the message flow modulator delivery, it was widely believed that bug-free code, at ANY size, was impossible. IEFBR14 was widely cited as proof of that assertion. The flip side is this: once a SMALL bug-free program has been delivered, it is now proven that bug-free code is POSSIBLE, and the question becomes how to extend that work to do LARGE bug-free systems.
Apr
21
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
Correction: Bug-free software, COMPLETE WITH FORMAL MATHEMATICAL PROOF OF CORRECTNESS, has been achieved. It was done in 1982. Google "message flow modulator".
Apr
21
comment Is it possible to reach absolute zero bug state for large scale software?
-1 for not knowing that bug-free software HAS been achieved, and insisting that it is impossible. Google "message flow modulator".
Apr
18
comment Using industrial earmuffs while programming to filter out talking
@kol: Before you go the custom-molded plugs route, try the generic foam 28-29 dB plugs. They're a lot cheaper than custom plugs, and they'll probably do the job well enough.