Contents page 1 — The biggest danger man on page 2 is A quick software update is unlikely to be On a page

you continue to 737, but the flight technically, the Boeing 737 Max 8 is not a continuous development of previous versions of the best-selling aircraft model of the world. The particularly quiet and fuel-efficient, but also particularly large engines, the 737 Max to accommodate, have shortened the Boeing engineers, the suspension under the wings. The result is that it comes with a excessive climb, rather a dangerous stall as in previous versions. A MCAS-called Software is designed to prevent the. But she is now suspected to have, within five months of the crash of two almost factory new 737 Max 8 machines in Indonesia and Ethiopia, at least partly. 346 people died.

Although no final report of the accident investigation is, in the first case, and in the second case, it has not even started properly. Nevertheless, the concern of a malfunction of the new Software is arranged, apparently, so large that the air supervision authorities of China about the EU ban in the USA, a flight for the new 737 Version, which is also supported by Boeing itself. Now the uncertainty is large – and an old debate revived: Is the upgrade with more and more computer control, a danger to flight safety?

In software development, no one works as diligently as the air travel industry.

Holger Hermanns, a computer scientist

in fact, Software plays in modern transport flight of any manufacturer witnesses an increasingly important role. But not as a cause of accidents. On the contrary, The use of complex Software has led to the fact that the air traffic has become in the past decades, always safer. The greatest danger from the people in the Cockpit. Because the technology will always work better, are pilot error for about half of all serious accidents. Mechanical failure, severe weather, and terrorism are other causes. This was the result of Simon Bennett of the University of Leicester in 2015 published evaluation. A case in which only the software error for the crash of the aircraft would have been responsible, is not known.

“In software development, no one works as diligently as the air travel industry,” says the computer scientist Holger Hermanns, one of the researchers at the University of Saarland to the security of software systems. While the assistance systems are controlled in modern cars the Software comes from different manufacturers and over the years of rather wild-growing together has grown, apply in the aviation industry, strict regulations and controls. This includes a four-eyes principle, Hermanns belong, for example: “Every piece of Code that a programmer writes today, tomorrow will be reviewed by a colleague, line-by-line.” And unlike the admission of new car models required by the competent authorities in the approval of new aircraft a proof for the correctness of the Software used.

Dirk Asendorpf

a Freelance author for TIME and TIME ONLINE

to the author of the page

The many millions of lines of code, however, never completely possible. As for the search of software bugs, in turn, the Software must be used. And if the errors it finds, it can not guarantee that no false alarms are including to be examined in connection manually in a complex process. Conversely, you can exclude, although false alarms, but does not guarantee that all errors have been found. As a set of Rice this context, computer scientists since 60 years. The search for software errors will have to find a workable compromise between these two poles.


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