A 20 year old idea gets a name: the Shortest Possible Schedule theorem; An adversarial robot helps researchers understand human perceptions about human-robot collaboration; A former FBI General Counsel argues against mandatory encryption back doors; A TED talk about ending energy poverty in Africa; and a Steem essay that offers insights into the emerging health-care technology industry
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- The Shortest Possible Schedule Theorem: Yes, You Can Throw Money at Software Deadlines - In this post, Bertrand Meyer takes on the old saws that, "Nine men can't make a baby in a month", and that "adding people to a late project makes it later" (Brooks' Law). He agrees that the first is trivially true, but suggests that the second is not a fact of life, but may, instead, be a sign of mismanagement. According to Meyer, a method for determining whether/when to add manpower to a project has been known for 20 years. He credits it to Steve McConnell, and attempts to popularize it here by naming it the Shortest Possible Schedule theorem. (McConnell is also known for his work at the foundation of the technical debt concept.) In short, the concept seems to be that if you have planned your project to find the optimal project length with current staffing levels, you can cut the delivery time by up to about 25% by adding staff. Meyer suggests that this 25% reductions seems to be a sort of a universal constant in software engineering. To explain the concept, Meyer also uses a diagram similar to the one that I slapped together, here.
- Rebel robot helps researchers understand human-machine cooperation - Researchers created a robot that could use the direction of eye gaze to anticipate a human operator's intent and operate in three modes: helpful, defiant, or neutral. Unsurprisingly, human operators perceived the robot to be most cooperative when it was operating in the helpful mode. The study used the level of frustration in human operators as an indicator of how well the rebellious robot was able to anticipate the operator's plans.
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