The Overwhelming Complexity of Computer Software
© 2013 Stan Yack
This one-hour presentation is more than a personal gripe session about not being able to master MS Word style sheets, or Web browser CSS files. It is a discussion about the roots of human difficulties coping with ever more sophisticated computer applications, with refererence to research into the relationships between computer software and the human mind.

Much progress has been made addressing what in the 1960s was called the "software crisis", progress that focussed on improving tools to produce more reliable software, more quickly.

I will report on some of the revolutionary, productivity-enhancing improvements that have been made in the way that software is designed and implemented, then raise questions about the usefulness of the flood of software that has resulted.

Connecting the questions of software reliability and utility to the theories of modern scientists and philosophers, I consider the possibility that there may be something about the human mind that limits our ability to understand software.

Click here to see my essay "Is software beyond human understanding?".

I am an instructional designer and computer softsmith, B Math (University of Waterloo). I have implemented application and system software on several computing platforms including IBM mainframes, MS Windows, MacOS, and UNIX. In recent years I have been teaching and developing online courses.

Stan Yack
Instructional Designer and Softsmith