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Computer science from A to Z

B is for Bug

© INRIA Sophie Auvin - B comme Bogue

A message flashes up on your screen: “The program must close due to an unknown error. ” You have just lost your last ten minutes of work...

Smile! You have fallen victim to a bug!

These untimely stoppages are not, however, the most critical bugs. Some appear when we use a program outside of its usual field of application: if you try to read a file in an unexpected format, your software may agree but then end up crashing! Other bugs are only revealed when several factors combine, which makes them harder to detect.

How can these errors be avoided? Eliminating them takes time and money. To spare ourselves this trouble, we develop stringent programming standards and suitable languages. Thus, interpretation errors by programmers and communication difficulties between programs from different sources are limited, and the related bugs are avoided.

Perhaps the next version of your word processor will benefit from this.

Did you know...?

© INRIA / Sophie Chauvin - Bogue

In many fields, the omnipresence of computers means that bugs must be mercilessly hunted down!

As well as objects from everyday life, such as telephones and cars, the problem also concerns high-tech equipment such as satellites, as well as instruments for medical imaging and precision surgery.

Keywords: L'informatique de A à Z Science awareness