e-Talk Radio: Yourdon, Ed, 21 November 2000


is similar to some of the other systems we have in place, which would be on a county or a municipal level, things like even the criminal justice system and/or the police system that are clearly a patchwork quilt, very much similar to an election process but they are much more relied on. You have really a patchwork quilt of interfaces between unlike systems with different requirements, different builders, different ages and those types of things. How can you ever hope to have one seamless system unless you start it all from scratch?

Ed: Well, that has been one of the proposals, that there is nothing in the Constitution that gives Congress the ability to impose nationwide standards on the voting of the President and Vice President. Apparently, it is always delegated down to the state and county level. Apparently, there is a little clause in the section describing the legislative branch of our government that does give Congress the right to impose nationwide standards on voting for the Senate and Congress but not for President and Vice President. So, we would need an amendment even to do that. You know, that is of course, the kind of utopia that we computer people love to think about, wouldn't it be nice if we would just throw out all of our technology from the old mainframe computers and jump straight into the 21st century and avoid all of these really messy problems of patching things together. It could be done if the country was sufficiently disgusted by this whole thing. It really would be wonderful if you could be sure that you were going to be using the same kind of equipment and the same procedures no matter where you voted in the country. Every time you pick up a telephone at least you know where the digits on the telephone are, and how to dial a long distance number, these are fairly well standard. Actually, working through the details of this, I think we would discover that it is a lot more difficult than people expected it to be.

Carol: We will be back shortly with more of Ed Yourdon and a discussion about this election and the future of technology...Welcome back to Quality Plus E-Talk. Our guest this week is Ed Yourdon and we have been talking a little bit about the Florida Election and what we could do in terms of investing in technology that might solve the problem. Approximately a month ago, I was at a conference with Ed Yourdon and he did something quite unique. As you could tell from the introduction, Ed is a unique individual. His career spans several decades. I remember when he first came up with the Yourdon Structured Analysis Methodology, and I had to take the courses in that. I never at that time realized that I would have you as a guest on my show, I am very pleased with that. One of the things that Ed did at the 10th International Conference in Software Quality that the American Society for Quality does, is that he talks about a new notion called "Pay it Forward." Ed, if you want to explain a little bit about what you did and what you meant by that before we get into the topic.

Ed: Sure. Well, I want to point out a thought that is something that I picked up elsewhere; I did not invent it at all. It is the title of a book and actually a movie that unfortunately was not done very well but opened about a month ago with

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