The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

This November, in what may be one of the closest U.S. presidential elections ever, more than a quarter of the ballots will be cast using equipment that directly records votes only on electronic media, with no tangible form of backup. That's nearly triple the number of electronic votes cast in 2000. Twenty-five years in the making, electronic voting is finally being widely adopted in the United States and several other countries.

Unfortunately, in countless local contests in the United States over the past few years, electronic voting has shown itself to be an immature technology. In election after election, machines have crashed or failed to boot up at all, or experienced other software glitches or power-related hardware problems. Perplexed, undertrained operators only made matters worse.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less