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To Test or Not to Test

A Case Study on Ethics in Computing


Author(s)

Junaid Ahmed Zubairi
Department of Math and Computer Science
SUNY Fredonia
zubairi@cs.fredonia.edu

Abstract

In 1991, faulty computer instructions caused a massive shutdown of phone systems in several major cities in the U.S., including Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The instructions were part of a revised version of software that was not tested fully because the changes were considered too small. Developed as part of the ethics module for a computer science course for non-majors, this case emphasizes good software development techniques, including full compliance with the rules.


Objectives

  • To teach students good software development techniques.
  • To make students aware that deviations from the rules can lead to disasters, especially in software that impacts on human life

Keywords

Ethics in computing; socially responsible computing; software development; software failure; systems failure

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type Methods

Discussion, Role-Play

Language

English

Subject Headings

Computer Science  |  


Date Posted

07/22/02

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