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  1.  32
    The Problem of Justification of Empirical Hypotheses in Software Testing.Nicola Angius - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):423-439.
    This paper takes part in the methodological debate concerning the nature and the justification of hypotheses about computational systems in software engineering by providing an epistemological analysis of Software Testing, the practice of observing the programs’ executions to examine whether they fulfil software requirements. Property specifications articulating such requirements are shown to involve falsifiable hypotheses about software systems that are evaluated by means of tests which are likely to falsify those hypotheses. Software Reliability metrics, used to measure the growth of (...)
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  2.  56
    Scientific Theories of Computational Systems in Model Checking.Nicola Angius & Guglielmo Tamburrini - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (2):323-336.
    Model checking, a prominent formal method used to predict and explain the behaviour of software and hardware systems, is examined on the basis of reflective work in the philosophy of science concerning the ontology of scientific theories and model-based reasoning. The empirical theories of computational systems that model checking techniques enable one to build are identified, in the light of the semantic conception of scientific theories, with families of models that are interconnected by simulation relations. And the mappings between these (...)
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  3.  67
    Abstraction and Idealization in the Formal Verification of Software Systems.Nicola Angius - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (2):211-226.
    Questions concerning the epistemological status of computer science are, in this paper, answered from the point of view of the formal verification framework. State space reduction techniques adopted to simplify computational models in model checking are analysed in terms of Aristotelian abstractions and Galilean idealizations characterizing the inquiry of empirical systems. Methodological considerations drawn here are employed to argue in favour of the scientific understanding of computer science as a discipline. Specifically, reduced models gained by Dataion are acknowledged as Aristotelian (...)
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  4.  32
    Explaining Engineered Computing Systems’ Behaviour: The Role of Abstraction and Idealization.Nicola Angius & Guglielmo Tamburrini - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (2):239-258.
    This paper addresses the methodological problem of analysing what it is to explain observed behaviours of engineered computing systems, focusing on the crucial role that abstraction and idealization play in explanations of both correct and incorrect BECS. First, it is argued that an understanding of explanatory requests about observed miscomputations crucially involves reference to the rich background afforded by hierarchies of functional specifications. Second, many explanations concerning incorrect BECS are found to abstract away from descriptions of physical components and processes (...)
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  5.  12
    Infringing Software Property Rights: Ontological, Methodological, and Ethical Questions.Nicola Angius & Giuseppe Primiero - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):283-308.
    This paper contributes to the computer ethics debate on software ownership protection by examining the ontological, methodological, and ethical problems related to property right infringement that should come prior to any legal discussion. The ontological problem consists in determining precisely what it is for a computer program to be a copy of another one, a largely neglected problem in computer ethics. The methodological problem is defined as the difficulty of deciding whether a given software system is a copy of another (...)
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  6.  4
    On the Mutual Dependence Between Formal Methods and Empirical Testing in Program Verification.Nicola Angius - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):349-355.
    This paper provides a review of Raymond Turner’s book Computational Artefacts. Towards a Philosophy of Computer Science. Focus is made on the definition of program correctness as the twofold problem of evaluating whether both the symbolic program and the physical implementation satisfy a set of specifications. The review stresses how these are not two separate problems. First, it is highlighted how formal proofs of correctness need to rely on the analysis of physical computational processes. Secondly, it is underlined how software (...)
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  7.  22
    Computational Idealizations in Software Intensive Science: A Comment on Symons’ and Horner’s Paper.Nicola Angius - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (3):479-484.
    This commentary on John Symons’ and Jack Horner’s paper, besides sharing its main argument, challenges the authors’ statement that there is no effective method to evaluate software-intensive systems as a distinguishing feature of software intensive science. It is underlined here how analogous methodological limitations characterise the evaluations of empirical systems in non-software intensive sciences. The authors’ claim that formal methods establish the correctness of computational models rather than of the represented programme is here compared with the empirical adequacy problem typifying (...)
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  8. Discovering Empirical Theories of Modular Software Systems. An Algebraic Approach.Nicola Angius & Petros Stefaneas - 2016 - In Vincent Müller (ed.), Computing and Philosophy: Selected Papers from IACAP 2014 (Synthese Library). Springer. pp. 99-115.
    This paper is concerned with the construction of theories of software systems yielding adequate predictions of their target systems’ computations. It is first argued that mathematical theories of programs are not able to provide predictions that are consistent with observed executions. Empirical theories of software systems are here introduced semantically, in terms of a hierarchy of computational models that are supplied by formal methods and testing techniques in computer science. Both deductive top-down and inductive bottom-up approaches in the discovery of (...)
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  9.  22
    Qualitative Models in Computational Simulative Sciences: Representation, Confirmation, Experimentation.Nicola Angius - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (3):397-416.
    The Epistemology Of Computer Simulation has developed as an epistemological and methodological analysis of simulative sciences using quantitative computational models to represent and predict empirical phenomena of interest. In this paper, Executable Cell Biology and Agent-Based Modelling are examined to show how one may take advantage of qualitative computational models to evaluate reachability properties of reactive systems. In contrast to the thesis, advanced by EOCS, that computational models are not adequate representations of the simulated empirical systems, it is shown how (...)
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