50 years of the Software Crisis June 1, 2018

The name The Software Crisis was coined at the first NATO Software Engineering Conference in 1968 at Garmisch, Germany. At that time, software projects frequently ran over time and budget while failing to work properly if at all. Maintenance was hard to do and expensive so many projects fell into unrecoverable heaps.

50 years on, little has changed in spite of the huge advances in the power of both computer hardware and the software that drives it. Edsger Dijkstra put it succinctly in 1972:

"The major cause of the software crisis is that the machines have become several orders of magnitude more powerful! To put it quite bluntly: as long as there were no machines, programming was no problem at all; when we had a few weak computers, programming became a mild problem, and now we have gigantic computers, programming has become an equally gigantic problem."

This series of articles examines the problem from the perspective of this author, advances a quite simple theory as to why things are as they are and suggests a means to deal with it.

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