Machine Control Software Expert Witness

Machine Control Software Expert

You probably have an intuitive understanding of what software is. The word processing program you use is software and so is the email program. The operating system (likely Windows, but maybe Macintosh OS) of your computer is software. Your computer behaves differently depending on what software is running. Software is written in a language. Common software languages include Java, C, Fortran and Visual Basic.

The term software as used to describe computer programs dates back to the 1950's and first appeared in an article by Princeton University statistics professor John W. Tukey in the 1958 January American Mathematical Monthly. They called it software to differentiate it from hardware. Software was written in a language and could be easily changed. Change around the words on the page and you change the software. You could change the machine software ten times a day. Machine hardware, on the other hand, involved wires, solder and the like. Changing machine hardware meant new wires, new circuit boards and waiting days if not weeks. In 1958 software must have seemed like the miracle solution.

Fast forward almost fifty years and many engineers and computer scientists have come to believe that machine software's ease of change may have been more of a curse than a blessing. Easy changes led to lazy design. The attitude of many programmers was (and with some still is), "I'll just whip something out and if it does not work I'll change it." Unless a machine software expert is involved in the design and implementation, robotics software and machine control software can be extremely fragile in the face of changes. Even very small changes can have unpredictable side-effects. In some industries it is not uncommon for hardware engineers to design around existing machine control software so that they do not need to change the software!

I have worked extensively with robotics software and machine control software and can support your litigation efforts in that regard as a robotics software and machine control software expert witness. My qualifications include numerous peer-reviewed publications and over thirty years of engineering experience with software, robotics, instrumentation, medical devices, computer-controlled machines and factory automation. 

I accept a small number of litigation support engagements to complement my regular work as a professional engineer designing automation and machine control systems.


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