Lively minds and smart people

January 12, 1996

Darrel Ince questions the practical value of the methodologies developed by software engineering and indicates applied mathematics as an alternative paradigm. A more radical, and more satisfying, move might be to develop the insight offered by the judiciary and legislature of the United Kingdom by their categorisation of a computer program as an "original . . . literary work" for the purposes of copyright.

The categorisation does alert us to those non-verbal forms of writing, including mathematical and logical notations, which can be regarded as precursors of computer programming languages. In particular, disciplines concerned with the transformation of written texts might contribute to an understanding of the software engineering process. For instance, textual bibliography has developed an informed understanding of the relations between the conditions of production and transmission and the final product, including the possibility of revision introducing error. Translation studies aims, not at a series of prescriptions, but a better understanding of the process of translation, which may then assist translators in their practical tasks.

Were these connections to be developed, software engineering could learn from established disciplines and its theory and practice be dialectically engaged, not mutually separated.

Julian Warner

Lecturer in information management

The Queen's University of Belfast

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns