close this bookVolume 10: No. 01
View the documentAdministrivia
View the documentY2K
View the documentPolitics and policy
View the documentOpportunities
View the documentProjects
View the documentJournal calls
View the documentPublishing
View the documentSoftware development

Prior to Deming's quality revolution, US manufacturers were spending up to 50% of an item's cost to "test in" quality. Designing in quality from the start cut that to as little as 5%. In software, quality assurance costs of up to 60% have been reduced to 10% through capability maturity model software engineering. CMM has found its initial popularity outside the US, just as Deming's work found its home in Japan. This time it is India and Brazil that are pushing hard to develop world-class software industries. While America's "cowboy programmers" ignore the new tools, Indian software houses have won 7 of the 12 highest ratings from CMU's Software Engineering Institute. [Otis Port, BW, 06Dec99, p. 118.]

fuzzy-pm-l is a discussion list for fuzzy logic and genetic algorithms applied to project management, esp. software development projects. Send a "subscribe fuzzy-pm-l your name" message to . [Andrew Gray , comp.software-eng, 08Nov99.]

ci-se-l is a related list for computational intelligence -- NN, FL, GA, agents, CBR, etc. -- applied to software engineering. Send a "subscribe ci-se-l your name" message to . [Ibid.]

"C++" is a discussion list for C++ programmers. Send a "subscribe C++" message to or , or sign up at . [, NEW-LIST, 22Nov99.]

PEPT is a new mailing list about partial evaluation and program transformation. Send a "guide" message to . The Web site is , from . [Eijiro Sumii , comp.lang.functional, 20Dec99.]

Young computer experts are increasingly adopting the labels "geek" and "nerd." Some authorities are suggesting that geekness is a mild, high-function autism known as Asperger's syndrome. Subjects may show intelligence, focus, good memory, math/science facility, hyperactivity (esp. verbal), fascination with odd facts and fantasy worlds, and sometimes exceptional skills, but with physical awkwardness, poor social understanding, poor conversational context, apparent insensitivity and eccentricity, and lack of human empathy. (Their inability to read nonverbal attitude cues is sometimes called "mind-blindness.") Symptoms often appear at a young age, leading to teasing as "little professors." Bill Gates appears to have some of the symptoms, including compulsive rocking; abrupt/abusive behavior (or temper tantrums); and neglected personal appearance. Such traits are not linked to computer proficiency, but Asperger patients may find computer work attractive. With experience, they may become fast-coding "super programmers." Asperger's 1944 German studies were not recognized in the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) until 1994. Some patients are "horribly, horribly impaired," leading to controversy over whether the syndrome includes mild cases. Coming decades may clarify the diagnosis. Meanwhile, many self-professed computer geeks are happy to be free thinkers and technology contributors rather than fashion followers, entertainment addicts, or self-promoters. [Gary Chapman, LA Times, 27Sep99. Karen Ellis, DUC, net-hap.] (Reading emotions is a lot easier if you look at people's eyes and faces when they talk.)

-- Ken