The Seductive Computer

Why IT Systems Always Fail

  • Derek Partridge

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Derek Partridge
    Pages 1-11
  3. The Joy of Programming

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Derek Partridge
      Pages 15-23
    3. Derek Partridge
      Pages 25-31
    4. Derek Partridge
      Pages 33-52
    5. Derek Partridge
      Pages 53-67
    6. Derek Partridge
      Pages 69-90
    7. Derek Partridge
      Pages 91-98
    8. Derek Partridge
      Pages 109-113
    9. Derek Partridge
      Pages 115-130
    10. Derek Partridge
      Pages 131-147
  4. The Way of the Seducer

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. Derek Partridge
      Pages 151-158
    3. Derek Partridge
      Pages 159-179
    4. Derek Partridge
      Pages 181-186
    5. Derek Partridge
      Pages 207-216
    6. Derek Partridge
      Pages 217-221
    7. Derek Partridge
      Pages 223-230
  5. Pieces of Resistance

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 231-231
    2. Derek Partridge
      Pages 233-240
    3. Derek Partridge
      Pages 241-248
    4. Derek Partridge
      Pages 249-253
    5. Derek Partridge
      Pages 275-285
  6. The End of the Affair

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 287-287
    2. Derek Partridge
      Pages 289-300
    3. Derek Partridge
      Pages 301-306
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 307-323

About this book


IT systems explode budget estimates, bust production deadlines by years, and then fail to work properly. Why this IT-system crisis? Poor programmers? Inadequate project management? No.

 The Seductive Computer argues that the fundamental nature of programming technology itself is the real culprit; it promises perfection but can only deliver emergent chaos. It is also an insidiously compelling technology, peculiarly male oriented.

 IT systems, an unavoidable and increasing reality in all our lives, are something new to man - large-scale discrete complexity. The Seductive Computer explains this novelty that defies human understanding.

 This book illustrates in a simple yet thorough manner the underlying concepts necessary for understanding the IT-system crisis - not ‘How To Program’ but what the demands of programming are. It then proceeds to lay out the full gamut of issues - all stemming from the nature of the technology.

 From development to maintenance IT-system personnel are grappling with incipient chaos. The technicians are seduced by the detailed challenge of the technology. The scientists are seduced by the promises of their technology. The managers and users are seduced by the mysteries of the technology. No IT system is ever fully understood by anyone, so surprising behaviours will always emerge.

 What can be done? We must rein in our expectations of IT systems: what they can do, and how reliably they can do it. On the positive side, The Seductive Computer discusses novel paradigms that look beyond the current discrete technology: neural computing and precise approximation computing.


Computers in Society IT Systems Programming Technology

Authors and affiliations

  • Derek Partridge
    • 1
  1. 1.Emeritus Professor of Computer ScienceUniversity of ExeterExeterUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011
  • Publisher Name Springer, London
  • eBook Packages Computer Science
  • Print ISBN 978-1-84996-497-5
  • Online ISBN 978-1-84996-498-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site