The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Late last week, a "processing error" by the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), custodian for the New York City Teachers Retirement System (TRS)  and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, issued and then withdrew the November direct deposit retirement checks for 66,000 New York City retired teachers, supervisors and administrators.  The amount - some $189 million in all - was returned to New York City's financial accounts by mistake.

Many retirees, who only found out about the problem late Thursday, were rather upset that they had bounced many of their personal checks and automatic electronic payments because of the problem.

BNY Mellon initially said all the checks and deposits would be reinstated and made good by Monday, the 9th of November, at the latest, and that it will reimburse any late fees or other charges.The TRS, the Office of the Comptroller of New York City, and the Mayor’s Office, however, were demanding that the correction be made by the end of Friday.

BNY Mellon found a way to partially satisfy the demands. It said that funds would be available to approximately 70 percent of the affected accounts by 9 a.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 7, and the remaining deposits would be completed by 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.

BNY Mellon, per usual in cases such as these, "expressed sincere regret" for the incident and is taking steps "to make sure it does not happen again."

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
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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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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