The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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News stories out of Australia like this one at the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Westpac Bank - Australia's second largest - suffered a "corrupt file" problem that affected its overnight payments processing.

As a result, payments into and out of Westpac weren't processed Monday night into part of this morning.The glitch left many Westpac Bank customers as well the customers of the three other major banks in Australia - ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and National Australia Bank (NAB) - with insufficient funds in their accounts for a good part of today.

Westpac promised to clear up the problem and its aftermath by the end of today, and early reports Wednesday morning local time seem to indicate that it had succeeded. Westpac's ATM, POS, online banking, telephone banking and branch banking were not directly affected by the processing glitch.

Westpac's situation is reminiscent of the overnight processing problem suffered by CBA last December, and the massive outage also caused by a corrupted file that disrupted NAB's overnight processing last November.

Last September, a server patch degraded Westpac's online banking for a good part of a day as well.

In April, Australian bank customers were told to expect 15 years of shared pain as the country's major banks upgraded their aging IT infrastructure. For many bank customers, 2025 can't come soon enough.

PHOTO: iStockphoto

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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