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They work for the “on-board shuttle group,” a branch of Lockheed Martin Corps space mission systems division, and their prowess is world renowned: the shuttle software group is one of just four outfits in the world to win the coveted Level 5 ranking of the federal governments Software Engineering Institute (SEI) a measure of the sophistication and reliability of the way they do their work.In fact, the SEI based it standards in part from watching the on-board shuttle group do its work.The group writes software this good because that’s how good it has to be.Every time it fires up the shuttle, their software is controlling a billion piece of equipment, the lives of a half-dozen astronauts, and the dreams of the nation.
In less than one second, they achieve 6.6 million pounds of thrust.
Virtually everything — from the international monetary system and major power plants to blenders and microwave ovens — runs on software.
In office buildings, the elevators, the lights, the water, the air conditioning are all controlled by software. There’s no science here at all.”Software may power the post-industrial world, but the creation of software remains a pre-industrial trade.
Believe it or not, your parents might just be able to remember a time when computers weren't everywhere you look. After all, you're reading today's Wonder of the Day, right? After some investigating, they discovered that a moth was trapped in a relay and causing a short circuit.
If you have much experience with computers, you probably already know that they're not perfect.
In cars, the transmission, the ignition timing, the air bag, even the door locks are controlled by software. Almost every written communication that’s more complicated than a postcard depends on software; every phone conversation and every overnight package delivery requires it. It also sucks.“It’s like pre-Sumerian civilization,” says Brad Cox, who wrote the software for Steve Jobs Ne XT computer and is a professor at George Mason University. According to SEI’s studies, nearly 70% of software organizations are stuck in the first two levels of SEI’s scale of sophistication: chaos, and slightly better than chaos.