Gray, Corbett, & VanLehn, 1998

Gray, W. D., Corbett, A. T., & VanLehn, K. (1988). Planning and Implementation Errors in Algorithm Design, Eleventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 594-600). Montreal, Canada.

Planning and Implementation Errors in Algorithm Design

Fifty-nine programmers were asked to code a LISP function that performs a depth-first search of an hierarchy. Twenty-three of these programmers performed a paper-and-pencil simulation of the algorithm prior to writing the code. An analysis of the 59 solutions revealed errors in both planning and implementation that occur at difficult points in the algorithm design process. The programmers who simulated the function produced fewer major planning errors than those who did not. We conclude that it is possible to discern categories of errors that reflect not just implementation failures, but failures in predictable steps in the algorithm design process.

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