Can Computers Think?
Introduction to Computer Science

CSC 106
Union College
Winter 2010

Homework to prepare for the discussion on Monday, 2/8

Watch this video on YouTube. Do some research to find out what happened.

Software errors are not only expensive, they can be deadly. Find out what the "Therac-25" incident was, and read this recent NY Times article.

In writing, answer the following questions: Who do you think is to blame? Why? What do you think should have been done to avoid these problems?

(Note: I don't expect you to find out every detail of the cases; a superficial understanding of what happened is enough. That means, in order to make your arguments about who is to blame and what should have been done, you are allowed to make some assumptions or hypothesize on what may have gone on in the teams that developed and used the faulty software.)

If you want a more fun account of software errors, watch An illustrated history of failure (a presentation about software errors). This talk is about 35 minutes. It's not required, but I recommend it. (It's very entertaining.)