Writing computer programs, commonly referred to as ‘code’, may soon become much easier, thanks to an initiative led by computer scientists from Rice University, in Houston, Texas.
The goal of the $11 million-project called PLINY is to create a tool for helping software developers automatically complete and correct their code by instantly comparing it with a huge database of publicly available computer programs.
According to Vivek Sarkar, chair of Rice’s Computer Science Department, PLINY will function much like the “autocomplete” and “autocorrect” tools that finish words and correct spelling errors in many word processors, web browsers, search engines and e-mail programs, but in a “far more sophisticated way.”
The system will consist of a data-mining engine that will compare a developer's code with programs in the database, to help complete the code or analyze it to purge any errors, or 'bugs'. It will be able to work across all programing languages and code specifications.
With funding by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the software experts from Rice and two other universities plan to have PLINY ready to deploy within four years.