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Fatal Defect: Chasing Killer Computer Bugs

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  22 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
From crashing computers to airplane crashes that claim scores of lives, the computer virus has become a growing plague of late twentieth-century life. This arresting and at times terrifying book tells us just how prevalent these software errors and defects are and how they are multiplying as more sophisticated computers become deeply embedded in our daily lives. As it expl ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 30th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Mar 23, 2009 Brian rated it it was ok
Wanted more horror stories

Bugs in code that caused disasters. But spent very little time on interesting bugs. Never got in depth, doesn't retell any tales (was hoping for something a little more like Cuckoo's Egg), don’t get to know any 'characters.' Spent a lot of time on whether you can prove software works 100% correctly (you can't).
Dec 28, 2010 Ilya rated it it was ok
Shelves: computer-science
The stories of many famous software bugs and bug-prone systems: the Therac-25 radiation machine that killed patients, the crash-prone Airbus, the Patriot missile battery that missed Iraqi SCUDs because of an insufficiently accurate internal clock. Computer safety expert Nancy Leveson is quoted many times; I took her class in 1998 (and told her of the most bizarre bug I had introduced up to then) and recommend her book Safeware over this one. One small correction: Velvel is not a childhood nickna ...more
Danny Lynn
May 25, 2011 Danny Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Government, technologist, programmer, student, professor
Recommended to Danny by: nobody - the title caught my attention
Ivars Peterson quickly guides us through what was painstaking drudgery to discover the tiny errors costing lives, lots of money and confidence in trusted systems. We see how bright and hard-working people make deadly mistakes. He takes us to the door of the consortium, of which he is a member, that for years has struggled with the sticky problem of debugging code before the bugs bring down a system. Entertaining and frightening because it is true. Take it from the expert.
Feb 02, 2013 Alejandra rated it liked it
Just as other reviewers, I was expecting more detailed anecdotes. It's still an interesting read, but I guess the title of the book is misleading.
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