Yahoo primes its research pump

3 min read

Yahoo Inc. is doing very well these days, having reported healthy revenue, operating income, and stock dividend numbers each fiscal quarter in 2005. But unlike, say, archrival Google, which seems to roll out a new product every month, Yahoo isn't known for its innovations. In July, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company hired Prabhakar Raghavan, an IEEE Fellow, to head Yahoo Research, and in December it opened an East Coast research center in New York City. IEEE Spectrum Senior Associate Editor Steven Cherry spoke with Raghavan in December and January by phone.

You joined Yahoo in July 2005, coming from a much smaller firm, Verity Inc., which specialized in corporate search tools. What's it like at a US $5 billion company?

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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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