johnl@ima.UUCP (John R. Levine)
21 Mar 86 04:04:10 GMT

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error-proneness johnl@ima.UUCP (1986-03-21)
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From: johnl@ima.UUCP (John R. Levine)
Newsgroups: mod.compilers
Date: 21 Mar 86 04:04:10 GMT
Originally-from: harvard!seismo!unido!uklirb!mattern (Friedemann Mattern - SFB124)

> Has there been any formal work on what programming language constructs
> are more error-prone than others?

  Perhaps not 'formal', but possibly of interest:

%A Boies, S.J.
%A Gould, J.D.
%T A behavioral analysis of programming: On the frequency of syntactical errors
%I IBM Thomas J. Watson Res. Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Rep. RC3907
%D 27 Jun 1972

%A John D. Gannon
%A Horning, J.J.
%T Language Design for Programming Reliability
%J IEEE Transactions on Software Engeneering
%V SE-1 no. 2
%P 179-191
%D Jun 1975
The language in which programs are written can have a substantial
effect on their reliability. This paper discusses the design of
programming languages to enhance reliability. It presents several
general design principles, and then applies them to particular
language constructs. (GAH75a)

%A Charles R. Litecky
%A Davis, Gordon B.
%T A Study of Errors, Error-Proneness, and Error Diagnosis in Cobol
%V 19 no. 1
%P 33-37
%D Jan 1976
This paper provides data on Cobol error frequency for correction of
errors in student-oriented compilers, improvement of teaching, and
changes in programming languages. Cobol was studied because of
economic importance, widespread usage, possible error-inducing design
and lack of research. (LID76a)

%A Litecky, C.R.
%T A study of errors, error-proneness, and error diagnosis of programming
languages with special reference to COBOL
%I Ph.D. Thesis, U. of Minnesota (UMI)
%D 1974

%A G. David Ripley
%A Druseikis, Frederick C.
%T Syntax errors and their impact on recovery schemes and language design
%I Computer Science Department, University of Arizona, Tucson
%D 1977

%A Ripley, G.David
%A Druseikis, Frederick C.
%T A Statistical Analysis of Syntax Errors
%J Computer Languages
%V 3 no. 4
%P 227-240
%D 1978
A study of errors made by Pascal programmers is described. The
results of this study are discussed in relation to compiler syntax
error recovery procedures. It is found that syntax errors made in
practice are quite simple and occur relatively infrequently (generally
at most one per sentence of the language). Also a few types of
errors account for most occurences. These and other findings from the
study are helpful in evaluating compiler error handling procedures.
A discussion of the relation between these errors and language
constructs is presented. Other use of the information obtained from
the study are briefly described. (RID78a)

%A Youngs, E.A.
%T Error-Proneness in Programming
%I Ph.D. Thesis, U. of North Carolina (UMI)
%D 1970
The dissertation by Youngs was an attempt "to systematically
assess quantitative error frequency". However, the research was not
successful in its attempt to determine significant error-proneness
for any of the high frequency errors. The difficulty with his research
was that there were too few subjects and too few programming runs to
give meaningful coverage of the relatively sparse occurence of errors
in programming languages. (LID76a)

%A Youngs, E.A.
%T Error-Proneness in Programming
%I Tech. Rep., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
%D 1972

UUCP: ...seismo!unido!uklirb!incas!mattern Friedemann Mattern
EUNET: ...mcvax!unido!uklirb!incas!mattern University of Kaiserslautern
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Phone: +49 631 205 2890 D 6750 Kaiserslautern
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