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Re: Mathematica and Lisp

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  • Subject: [mg129735] Re: Mathematica and Lisp
  • From: Richard Fateman <fateman at eecs.berkeley.edu>
  • Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2013 00:44:31 -0500 (EST)
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  • References: <kcqkv4$lq5$1@smc.vnet.net> <kct7fj$sgo$1@smc.vnet.net> <kev3fr$pfg$1@smc.vnet.net> <20130208101038.1FE6C6921@smc.vnet.net> <C7632B6F-27AB-4AAE-9CB2-98422BC9A401@lobb.com>

Regarding the Therac-25  (not theravac);
you can read about it on Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25
and also look at the links, especially Nancy Leveson's report
http://sunnyday.mit.edu/papers/therac.pdf
especiall page 7, top.
which I think is the most significant.

As I recall,  the operator editing the display screen used
carriage returns etc to go between fields and thought that
the actual settings were reflected  by what appeared on the screen.
This was not the case.

There are other factors too. Lack of hardware interlocks, certainly
a systems design error,  also
meaningless error messages (how could THAT happen?)
hard to debug programming language (assembler).





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