CERN Computing Seminar

Software Defects, Scientific Computation and the Scientific Method

by Prof. Les Hatton (Kingston University London)

IT Auditorium (CERN)

IT Auditorium



Computation has rapidly grown in the last 50 years so that in many scientific areas it is the dominant partner in the practice of science. Unfortunately, unlike the experimental sciences, it does not adhere well to the principles of the scientific method as espoused by, for example, the philosopher Karl Popper. Such principles are built around the notions of deniability and reproducibility.

Although much research effort has been spent on measuring the density of software defects, much less has been spent on the more difficult problem of measuring their effect on the output of a program. This talk explores these issues with numerous examples suggesting how this situation might be improved to match the demands of modern science.

Finally it develops a theoretical model based on an amalgam of statistical mechanics and Hartley/Shannon information theory which suggests that software systems have strong implementation independent behaviour and supports the widely observed phenomenon that defects cluster.

About the speaker

Les Hatton is part-time Professor of Forensic Software Engineering at Kingston University, London. He graduated in mathematics from King's College Cambridge and Manchester Universities shortly after the last Ice Age. After being awarded the Conrad Schlumberger Prize for computational geophysics in 1987, he was lured into the dark world of software failure and never came back.

He has wide interests and has just published his latest book "Email Forensics: Eliminating Spam, Scams and Phishing."

Organised by: Miguel Angel Marquina
Computing Seminars /IT Department

more information
Video in CDS