To Test or Not to Test
A Case Study on Ethics in Computing
Department of Math and Computer Science
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.
- 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
KeywordsEthics in computing; socially responsible computing; software development; software failure; systems failure
Topical AreasEthics, Social issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDiscussion, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsComputer Science |
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