It appears that, in this case is, the story is based on a TRUE Australian
For details, see the article on the Western European Defense Systems Daily,
http://defence-data.com/archive/page5933.htm. However, it appears that the
reuse error was discovered during testing, not in front of a live audience.
And in this case what the kanaroo's faught back with looked more like beach
balls than stinger missiles. This according to Dr Anne-Marie Grisogono,
Head, Simulation Land Operations Division at the Australian DSTO, 29 Nov.
1999. Dr. Grisogon had "related this story as part of a talk on Simulation
for Defence, at the Australian Science Festival on May 6th in Canberra." No
computing language was mentioned in the story.
Thanks to our Ada friends "down under" for adding some humor to Team-Ada.
More military humor from the same source is available at
http://defence-data.com/current/spageindx.htm Thanks also to my sources for
helping to track this one down.
charter member Team Ada
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daniel McDonough [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 1999 2:32 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Objects fight back!
> I haven't checked out the reference at the end of this, but even if it
> isn't true, it is a good story for teaching.
> I wonder if the simulation was coded in Ada? <-- Ada content
> Daniel McDonough Team Ada
> [log in to unmask]
> Careless code recycling causes killer kangas --
> Mutant Marsupials Take Up Arms Against Australian Air Force
> The reuse of some object-oriented code had caused tactical headaches for
> Australia's armed forces.
> As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat
> training, programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism
> of their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and -- in the case of
> the Northern Territory's Operation Phoenix -- herds of kangaroos (since
> disturbed animals might well give away a helicopter's position).
> The head of the Defense Science & Technology Organization's
> LandOperations/Simulation division reportedly instructed developers to
> model the local marsupials' movements and reactions to helicopters.
> Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code
> originally used to model infantry detachment reactions under the same
> stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and
> increased the figures' speed of movement. Eager to demonstrate their
> flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies
> "buzzed" the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation.
> The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the visiting Americans nodded
> appreciatively....then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from
> behind a hill and launched a barrage of Stinger missiles at the helpless
> helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotten to remove THAT part
> of the infantry coding.)
> The lesson? Objects are defined with certain attributes, and any new
> object defined in terms of an old one inherits all the attributes. The
> embarrassed programmers had learned to be careful when reusing
> object-oriented code, and the Yanks left with a newfound respect for
> Australian wildlife.
> Simulator supervisors report that pilots from that point onward have
> strictly avoided kangaroos, just as they were meant to.
> From June 15, 1999 _Defense Science and Technology Organization Lecture
> series_, Melbourne, Australia, and staff reports.
> Item taken from _Software Testing and Quality Engineering_ magazine,
> Volume 1, Issue 6
> (November/December 1999)