Makitoo (ex-Spoonware), a first-aid kit against computer bugs
The bug, an attacker that can disrupt and even paralyse a computer system, is the computer-user’s nightmare. In order to offer clean and more robust applications, engineer Nicolas Petitprez has turned bug-hunting into an obsession.
It’s not usual to take such an interest in bugs, where did you get the idea?
Nicolas Petitprez : Despite all the techniques that are designed to improve software quality, bugs are everywhere and can be attributed to various causes, such as malfunctioning applications, unsuitability of telephones or peripheral hardware, etc. Basically, anything that is not working properly interests me and gives me a buzz. I find it enormously amusing to try to understand why a piece of software or an application crashes. That is why I’ve created Makitoo, a monitoring and bug-repair solution.
What is the functioning principle behind Makitoo?
Nicolas Petitprez : The purpose of this computer solution is to warn software creators of problems that emerge during production and enable them to make corrections on the spot, so they can be remedied instantly. In short, we want to enable software to automatically correct their most frequent defects.
What are the advantages of this innovation?
Nicolas Petitprez : The first undeniable advantage is that our system of application of correctives operates without requiring re-startup, modification or redeployment of the application. Users therefore have the corrective software available to them immediately. Spoonware is a sort of computer first aid kit. On the other hand, contrary to the solutions currently on the market, we can detect bugs at source, that is to say, even before they have done any damage. Makitoo thus enables them to reduce the time taken to make corrections, to reduce their costs and limit the negative impact of bugs on the users. It is prevention. And our algorithms can adapt themselves to a variety of fields –Android platforms, web applications– we can concentrate on other areas, depending on what the market requires.
How far have you gone in the development of your project?
Nicolas Petitprez : Our aim from now on is to bridge the gaps in the commercial field. Being a winner in the 2015 national i-LAB competition for aiding the creation of innovative companies is an obvious boost that will help us acquire additional resources. We hope to be able to sub-contract services so that the project can gain in strength. Of course, we shall rely on this honour in order gain in visibility, it has brought us the necessary credibility so that we can identify and materialise our partners for tomorrow.
You work in tandem, how does this strengthen your project?
Nicolas Petitprez : Martin Monperrus and I both belong to the Spirals team run by Inria Lille. We are very complementary. Martin Monperrusis a university lecturer and he focuses his researchon software engineering. My engineering profile is based on different experience, mainly acquired in industry. This has enabled me to gain expertise in software development. We therefore live Makitoo as a unique experience, that is our technological challenge.