Fatal Defect: Chasing Killer Computer Bugs

Ivars Peterson

Published by Vintage, 1996
ISBN 10: 0679740279 / ISBN 13: 9780679740278
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Synopsis: An airplane crashes, killing eighty-seven passengers. A cancer patient receives a fatal dose of radiation from a machine designed to be foolproof. The ATMs at a New York bank debit customers twice their actual withdrawals, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars. In every case, the culprit was a computer bug, a software error or design defect that may escape detection until it erupts into the real world with sometimes catastrophic results.

This arresting and at times terrifying book tells us just how prevalent these defects are and how they are multiplying as computers become more sophisticated and more deeply embedded in our daily lives. It is also a riveting portrait of the men and women who find and "exterminate" those bugs, whether they occur in pocket calculators or nuclear reactors.

Fatal Defect reveals what you should know about the computers in our lives. Read it before you buy a computer, use a cash machine, or book an airplane flight. Then pray that one of its real-life heroes was on the job.

Review: In Fatal Defects: Chasing Killer Computer Bugs, Ivars Peterson describes dozens and dozens of hoary computer bugs and gives biographical sketches of the bug detectives who located and fixed them. This book, which reads like a novel, is both entertaining and informative. Many of the bugs that Peterson discusses are not in computer programs per se but in the human systems that run and operate the computers. Very often the operator fails to understand what the computer program requires as input and types in an incorrect command. The computer then executes the command, with potentially disastrous results. Fatal Defects has important lessons for both those who design computers and those who use them.

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Title: Fatal Defect: Chasing Killer Computer Bugs
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 1996
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Vintage, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. The pages of this book are clean and unmarked but have some light toning. The cover is bright and clean and the spine remains free of creasing. A good clean copy. FAST SHIPPING & FREE TRACKING!. Bookseller Inventory # 144329

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Vintage Books ed. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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 explores the digital bugs that can cause such catastrophic results, it also offers a riveting portrait of the men and women who find and exterminate these viruses and glitches, whether they occur in pocket calculators or nuclear reactors. An entertaining introduction to the problems of creating reliable computer systems. -- The Christian Science Monitor. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780679740278

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