Software Development is NP-hard

(I originally posted this on my MSDN blog.)

Here’s one more thought on the subject of complexity in software development: software development is NP-hard.

Software development (in the sense of building large projects end-to-end) has these characteristics:

  1. A proposed solution can be easily proved correct or not correct.
  2. The cost of searching for the correct solution grows exponentially as the problem set grows in size.
  3. There are no known shortcuts that make the process of searching for the correct answer dramatically easier.

What’s the best way to deal with NP-hard problems?

Successive approximation and heuristics.


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