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What's The Greatest Software Ever Written?

Now here's an interesting story by Charles Babcock in InformationWeek, Aug. 14, 2006:

"First, let's set criteria for what makes software great. Superior programming can be judged only within its historical context. It must represent a breakthrough, technical brilliance, something difficult that hadn't been done before. And it must be adopted in the real world. ...



The AI application that produced the first real breakthrough was the inference engine, a system with a knowledge base of conditions and rules. Such a computer can match a condition, such as a 104-degree fever in a patient, to a rule, such as the fact that bacterial infections cause high fevers. One of the best, the Mycin medical diagnosis system, could correctly identify bacterial infections in people based on their symptoms 65% of the time. That's better than most nonspecialized physicians. But it never moved out of the lab into popular use. No one knew who to sue when it was wrong.



My favorite AI package was IBM's Deep Blue program, which defeated chess Grand Champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match. ... AI software can be impressive, but all my examples fall short of being among the greatest. ... Continuing into modern times, Google, in one aspect at least, represents great software. ... American Airlines' Sabre system was great, showing how software could evolve beyond the tactical needs of business and into the strategic. Sabre had the ability to match a customer's travel needs with the flights available at a travel agent's office. ... So how do I rank my candidates on a list from 1-12? In descending order, the greatest software ever written is: ...."

For the full story, click the link below:

Source: August 14, 2006: What's The Greatest Software Ever Written?

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