Have you ever faced a bug problem? No, I am not talking about those crawling bugs that often make noses cringe. I am talking about the virtual unseen computer bugs. Funny, how the computer blips are called as ‘bugs’. Many programmers, coders and cryptographers consider it as the most maddening asset of the computer technology. Because computers follow a tedious and scrupulous order of operations, the most minuscule programming errors can have crippling effect. Simple syntactical errors such as a programmer mistakenly inserting a comma instead of a period could bring down the entire system to their knees. Back in 1944 at Harvard University laboratory, the computer developed a mysterious glitch one day. World’s first computer, The Mark 1, a room size maze of electromechanical circuit was malfunctioning. After hours of searching, a lab assistant finally spotted the problem. It seemed that a moth had landed on one of the computer circuit boards and shorter it out from that moment computer glitches were referred to as ‘bugs’.
In some cases, undiscovered bugs could lead to product recalls, software crashes or even loss of life. Due to this, efforts are made to build fool proof algorithm. Northeastern University is striving to progress in this field. Pete Manolios, principal investigator, an associate professor in the College of Computer and Information Science of Northeastern University says,
“Serious bugs can cost billions of dollars to fix. Making sure microprocessors do what they are supposed to do and are bug-free is a major challenge.”
Manolios will collaborate on the project with research scientist Eugene Goldberg and several computer science graduate students to make new, safer algorithms and programs. The beauty of the new algorithms lies in their ability to transform proofs of models into tests that can be applied to physical devices in order to find bugs.