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How Software Found the Air France Wreckage

A new drift simulator pinpoints ocean accidents

3 min read

When Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro disappeared over the Atlantic in the early hours of 1 June, search and rescue teams had to look for survivors in an area almost as big as Great Britain. Not knowing exactly where the Airbus 330-200 went down, French and Brazilian authorities turned to new software developed for the U.S. Coast Guard that uses the location of debris to look back in time to estimate the most likely site of an accident.

The Coast Guard's "reverse drift" modeling program takes into consideration the types and locations of objects found floating in the water, the time of an accident, and environmental conditions--such as the speed and direction of ocean currents and winds--to calculate the location where an accident may have occurred.

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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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