Seminars & Meetings | Abstracts

Friday, September 18, 2009

Levine 307          3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Harold Thimbleby
Department of Computer Science
Swansea University
Avoiding death by computer

One of the reasons why people make mistakes is that the systems they use are badly designed, and this is perhaps nowhere more alarming than in hospital errors involving drug delivery systems. This talk reviews a well-documented, but otherwise typical, fatality and shows that many causes could be prevented by better design, and better programming in particular. The talk will be of interest to anybody who might end up in hospital (that's everybody) and particularly computer scientists, who ought to be embarrassed by the mess that we're creating.... or the Faculty who, like me, have for years been teaching programmers who then go on to get jobs where they build poor systems.

Harold Thimbleby is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Geometry and a Royal Society-Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow at Swansea University. He is Director of the Future Interaction Technology Lab. He wrote Press On (MIT Press), which won the American Publishers Association best book in computer/information sciences award.