The BCS Edinburgh branch Sidney Michaelson Memorial Lecture in partnership with Edinburgh Science Festival.


Kevlin Henney, Director / Thought Provoker, Curbralan


17:30 - Main presentation
18:30 - Close


Software is running the world. We have come to think of software failure as a normal experience. But beyond phone apps crashing and servers becoming unavailable halfway through our online shopping sessions, what are the large-scale implications of failure?

A spreadsheet bug gave us austerity economics. An overlooked software detail knocked out O2's 4G phone network in December 2018. The WannaCry ransomware attack exploited a bug in Windows, infecting computers in over 150 countries and bringing the NHS to its knees. In October 2020 an overlooked limitation in Excel led to COVID-19 cases being underreported. Software reliability is not simply a question of negotiating consumer inconvenience and business priorities; it has economic, social and cultural consequences.

What is it about software systems that leads to these kinds of failures? What are the moral and practical implications for those involved in software development? And when we talk of software systems, are we part of the system? In this talk, Kevlin Henney will explore examples of failures in software and its application, and how they affect us at different scales, from user to society.

About the speaker

Kevlin Henney

Kevlin Henney is an independent software development consultant, speaker and writer. His contributions have influenced common software development practice, particularly in the area of code quality and testing. He has written and contributed to books on software architecture, programming practice and organisational culture. Kevlin lives in Bristol and online.

Follow Kevlin on Twitter

This event is brought to you by: BCS Edinburgh branch

Webinar: Computer says Oh No!
Date and time
Thursday 8 July, 5:30pm - 6:30pm
This event is sold out