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From Patricia Shanahan <p...@acm.org>
Subject Re: Profile.c bugs (was RE: Some thoughts on the learning curve)
Date Fri, 04 Mar 2016 19:59:12 GMT
In the short term, incremental and iterative can go well, but in the
long term it only makes the bit rot worse. I have had bad experiences
both ways, so neither course guarantees success.

Thread synchronization is a particularly dangerous area for not having a
known design, because it can lead to infrequent, timing-dependent bugs.

In this case we can do both. I have seen messages from students wanting
to help. Rather than just asking them what they want to work on, find
out what skills they have and then point them at some of the things
where you think an incremental, local approach will work. Some of them
will be faster at coding C++ than I would be, because I last did
significant C++ programming before most current undergraduates were born.

Meanwhile, I can aim for bigger scope understanding, and may be able to
find ways to simplify some of the code. Even if I don't find
simplifications, once I understand more I'll be able to do a lot more to
debug and fix on a wider scope.

Patricia

On 3/4/2016 11:11 AM, Dennis E. Hamilton wrote:
...
> In my youth, I took the reverse approach a few times.  It did not go
> well.  I am very incremental and iterative in approaches now, even
> with what can grow into large efforts.  Working with a monster
> existing code base which may have some significant bit rot is another
> story.  Heroism won't carry the day.  I am striving to not be too
> discouraged about that.
...

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