John had bought a set of whiffle golf balls and a floating pool green. You practice pitching golf balls from the side of the pool onto the floating pool green and there the three of us were, pitching whiffle golf balls into the pool and onto the floating pool green and it's 12:30 at night.
But how much work the software does is not what makes it remarkable. What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats: the last three versions of the program – each 420,000 lines long-had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.
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Software may power the post-industrial world, but the creation of software remains a pre-industrial trade. 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. The situation is so severe, a few software pioneers from companies such as Microsoft have broken away to teach the art of software creation ( see “Drop and Code me Twenty!” )
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In this software morass, the on-board shuttle group stands out as an exception. Ten years ago the shuttle group was considered world-class. Since then, it has cut its own error rate by 90%.
I love stuff like this.