In the early days of software engineering, Edsger Dijkstra warned us not to let the size and complexity of our programs cause us to lose “intellectual control” due to the limited nature of our minds. To George Fairbanks’s knowledge, Dijkstra never defined precisely what intellectual control was. Our software today is staggeringly larger than the programs of the 1960s, so does that mean we have it under our intellectual control or did we find ways to make progress without Dijkstra’s high standards?
George Fairbanks is a software engineer at Google and the author of the book Just Enough Software Architecture and the Pragmatic Designer column for IEEE Software magazine.
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