Sunday, 30 June 2013

Maths does plants

Last week the BBC published a  cheerful article ‘Plants do maths…’, which began with ‘Plants have a built-in capacity to do maths’. Seeing that, I assumed that it was just a piece of inexact but eye-catching journalism. But reading on, I was surprised to read a quotation from Prof. Alison Smith of the John Innes Centre, saying ‘They’re actually doing maths in a simple, chemical way… this is pre-GCSE maths… but they’re doing maths.’ Later, there was a quotation from her colleague Prof. Martin Howard, saying that ‘This is the first concrete example in biology of such a sophisticated arithmetical calculation.’

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The catastrophic collapse of the risk vector

Risk-based testing of complex systems is fairly standard practice, and software systems are no exception. You identify the biggest risks associated with the system you’re testing, and you test for those risks first. Then you go on, in order of descending risk, until you run out of time or interest. As well as being common practice, it’s recommended by the ISTQB in its software testing guide.

But there’s something hopelessly na├»ve about the way that risk-based testing is done.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

TOGAF principles for an imperfect world

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is a marvellous thing in its way. Recently, after many years of working as an ICT solution architect, I've qualified as a TOGAF practitioner. But TOGAF has such an air of lofty other-worldliness about it that I can’t resist presenting the following little case study.