I am very honored to be giving a new talk at MCE 2015 this coming February!
One mid-winter morning, when user logins had slowed to an icy trickle and the mountain was peaceful beneath its blanket of snow, host master Yishi-Shing left his servers in the care of ten capable monks and set out to inspect the state of a distant abbey.
Arriving, he found an unexpected whirlwind of activity. Serious defects plagued the abbey’s software. User activity caused minor errors throughout the database; these errors were compounded by subsequent user actions, ultimately spreading the corruption to highly-sensitive tables. Monks were poring over log files, running emergency data repair scripts, arguing at whiteboards, hammering away at workstations. Desperate patches were released at a frantic pace, resulting in further disasters.
“What of testing?” asked Yishi-Shing.
“No time! No people! No money!” said the abbot, who tightened the straps on his rollerskates and took off down the hall in response to the ringing of another alarm-bell.
Yishi-Shing returned to his own temple, lost in thought.
“How fares the abbey?” asked the monks of the Clan of Iron Bones.
“I saw no abbey,” said Yishi-Shing. “Only a field of cold hard earth where monks dig furrows with their fingernails, while oxen march behind and goad them on with plow-blades.”
“Are the servers in order, at least?” asked one of the monks.
Said Yishi-Shing: “Not servers; masters.”
Provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
*Some textures in illustrations courtesy of FantasyStock.