October 30, 2010: Dubois on Maintaining Correctness

Something else I didn't get to at the Met Office last week:

Paul F. Dubois: "Maintaining Correctness in Scientific Programs". Computing in Science & Engineering, May-June 2005, http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MCSE.2005.54.

Please, please, please, if you're building scientific software of any kind, find a copy and read it, because it's the best explanation I've ever found of why the right way to do it is, well, the right way to do it. Paul ties together a banker's dozen good ideas under the banner defense in depth: no matter how scrupulous we are, any of these might fail, so we have others in place to catch the mistakes that creep through. To quote the list that opens the paper, they are:

It's only six pages long, including a couple of ads that you can skip: please, like I said, give it a read. (And note to self: I really need to turn this into a lecture...)

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This post originally appeared in the Software Carpentry blog.