Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare
Computer Science
27 Jun 2012

Computers Will Assist Programmers To Understand & Modify Their Programs - Says Hoare

Tony Hoare is a principal researcher from Microsoft Research in Cambridge. Fascinated by the power of mathematical logic, he has reworked the famous 'Turing Test' for programmers. Speaking at Alan Turing Centenary Conference in Manchester, Sir Hoare said that in the next 50 years time, a computer will be able understand its own program and assist the programmer to make changes and improvements in it. So, according to his predictions this new engineering version of the Turing Test will enable interactive environment for the programmer where the machine will examine the user's program. This means that the programmer can practically ask questions to the computer. Does that ring a bell?


It will be one of the programmer's best dream come true. A computer would tell if the program it is running could overflow a buffer and suggest changes by running tests. It could also tell if a certain change should be avoided because it makes the program slower. Hoare said in his prediction that, "programs of the future will be written by collaboration, taking the particular skills of each of the parties [human and computer]. The human understands the real world, who will use the program and its commercial value. The computer understands the detail of the program and the consequences of changing it.”

Currently efforts are being made so that the computers not only demonstrate mathematical proofs but generate them also. Citing the FlySpeck project, he said that it is an attempt to prove the Kepler conjecture on the most efficient packing of spheres. Hoare further makes clear that the term 'understanding' doesn't mean that the computer can reflect on the meaning of the program, the way a human does. And it goes without saying that there will always be some questions that a computer won't be able to answer.

Via: E&T

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