Re: The Fermat-Wiles Theorem

Susan L. Gerhart, Director, UHCL/RICIS (GERHART@UHCL4.CL.UH.EDU)
Fri, 18 Nov 1994 06:26:44 -0600 (CST)

Lyle says "if QED is just to be an engineering tool, then it's a waste
of time (from a scientific perspective)". Why? Would medical scientists
say, "if image processing is just to be a tool for medical doctors
to treat prostate cancer, then it's a waste of time (from a scientific
perspective)"? I don't get the disconnect between science, engineering,
and social/economic problems.

However, industry will ALWAYS value the innovation of new functionality
for business opportunities higher than full assurance but they would
appreciate assistance in reducing the COST of achieving assurance.

A case that combines many factors that might be considered for QED
is the "feature interaction" problem that faces the telephony industry
and many others. The main problem is defining interdependencies
of features from the underlying primordial logic of the phone service
up through the buttons on your voice mail. Bellcore research managers
have characterized this problem as one of the major barriers to
deploying new services -- they can't predict how features will
interact (e.g. 911 and call waiting, call forwarding, 900 blocking)
in the presence of different systems from different providers and
the ingenuity of cheaters. The problem is one of modeling for
predictability. "verification" comes later. There are scientific
problems of modeling and algorithm invention to go along with
engineering problems of deploying the results.