Science and software development


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  • Currently little use of experiments and the scientific method in the software industryThe aim of this talk is:Explain what scientific method isShow that it is needed in software developmentExplain how other industries use scientific method
  • Science and Engineer are not completely separate entities, they cannot exist without each otherAll scientist need engineering to some extent as it is necessary for good experiment design
  • - From Guardian Weekly Science Podcast 06 Feb 2012:
  • The software industry tends to believe theories can be validated by reasoning aloneHalf of all business fail why should software methodologies do any better?
  • - Based on experiment used by Susan Blackmore, see page P138 the Geek Manifesto by Mark Henderson
  • Definition was taken from WikipediaUsed extensively by Ad men, not least in pricing things 4.99 € rather than 5.00 €See p11-24 of Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland
  • Definition was taken from WikipediaPeople have a tendency to look for data that fits existing theories rather than look for counter examplesSee P98-103, 109 Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland
  • Red placebos are more effective than blue onesTwo placebos a day is more effective than onePlacebo saline injection is more effective than placebo pillsPeople change their behavior when they are observedSource: Bad Science by Ben Goldarce
  • P175 Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland
  • Studies include thing being tested and a control groupGroups allocated randomlyIncludes blinding where possibleSeek to minimize bias though safe guardsP128-132 The Geek Manifesto by Mark Henderson
  • - We have come to expect self-interest/bias as the norm!
  • Wisdom teeth have a habit of growing at funny angles, “impacted” in the jargonUp to the mid-1990s impacted teeth were extracted routinely, even if there was no pain or other symptomsJohnathan Shepard began a review to see if this policy was correct, he found no evidence that removing teeth where patients were not in pain had any benefitAs a result the policy was changed and the number of wisdom teeth removal were vastly reducedKey to this policy change was the fact that Johnathan Shepard practiced dentistry as well as teaching and researching the subjectSee p135 The Geek Manifesto by Mark Henderson
  • Science and software development

    1. 1. Science and Software Development
    2. 2. Inspiration
    3. 3. It reveals that the length of our heels, or the distance between our ankle joint and the back of the Achilles tendon, seems to have an impact on the development of the size of our calf muscles
    4. 4. Why Science andSoftware Development?
    5. 5. But first …… a little memorytest, try toremember thenames, withoutwriting them down
    6. 6. sci·ence (ˈsīəns/) noun. A systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject
    7. 7. en·gi·neer·ing (enjəˈni(ə)riNG) noun. The branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures
    8. 8. FalseDichotomy
    9. 9. If we’rescientist we’reno longercraftsmen?
    10. 10. Hear Surgeonsand Lace Makers
    11. 11. Scientific Method TheoryEvidence Experiment
    12. 12. Science is a way oftry not to foolyourself ... andyou are theeasiest person tofool.- Richard Feynman
    13. 13. A study shows onaverage people whoconsult psychicsmore often livelonger.Can you explain thisresult?
    14. 14. On average:• Women live longer that men• Women are more likely to consult a psychic
    15. 15. Why women livelover than men
    16. 16. … or
    17. 17. Name somepeople from theearlier list.
    18. 18. In the list readout earlier, wasthere more menor women?
    19. 19. There were morewomen than men
    20. 20. Availability bias:The overestimation of theimportance of anythingmemorable or vivid
    21. 21. Example triplet:8 10 12Guess the hiddenrule by testingother triplets.
    22. 22. Hidden rule:Any three positiveintegers
    23. 23. Confirmation Bias:Tendency of people tofavor information thatconfirms their beliefs
    24. 24. PlaceboEffect
    25. 25. Overconfidence:A survey found 95% ofBritish drivers thoughtthey were above averagemotorist
    26. 26. RandomizedControlledTrials
    27. 27. Non-disclosureof interests
    28. 28. Wisdom TeethPolicy Change
    29. 29. In medicine isconsider importantthat people teachingand make policydecisions are stillpracticing regularly
    30. 30. What can you do?Use experiments/Be aware of bias:• View testing as an experiment• Gather data and use as decision making aid• Encourage your organisition to use randomized controlled trails
    31. 31. What can you do?Encourage closer relations with acadeamia:• Stay in touch with your lecturers• Read journals• Join university mentor schemes• Join professional organizations
    32. 32. What can you do?Next time someone tells you something,ask where the evidence is!
    33. 33. Books
    34. 34. Disclosureof Interests
    35. 35. Questions?