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Seven great blunders of the computing world

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1 Author(s)
Holmes, Neville ; Sch. of Comput., Tasmania Univ., Hobart, Tas., Australia

The computing profession has had many great successes, but there have been many great blunders. Blunders arise from a failure of imagination, from an inability to see beyond the immediate problem to its full social or professional context. If professionals acquire an education in and remain sensitive to social and ethical issues, they will commit fewer blunders and recover more swiftly from them. The seven great blunders of the computing world, according to the author, relate to: (1) terminology ("data" vs. "information"), (2) the computer (keyboard layouts), (3) the processor (integer and floating-point arithmetic), (4) commercial programming (COBOL), (5) scientific programming (FORTRAN and Algol), (6) text encoding (Unicode), and (7) numeric encoding (symbols and digit ordering). The seven blunders offered provide a mix that is ancient and modern, retrievable and irretrievable, general and particular, subtle and blatant, and arguable and undeniable

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 7 )