June 13, 2006
Software Is Bad and Getting Worse
There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we create software. Contrary to conventional wisdom, unreliability is not an essential characteristic of complex software programs. In this article, I will propose a silver bullet solution to the software reliability and productivity crisis. The solution will require a radical change in the way we program our computers. I will argue that the main reason that software is so unreliable and so hard to develop has to do with a custom that is as old as the computer: the practice of using the algorithm as the basis of software construction (*). I will argue further that moving to a signal-based, synchronous (**) software model will not only result in an improvement of several orders of magnitude in productivity, but also in programs that are guaranteed free of defects, regardless of their complexity.