CoRR, August, 2013. Paper Local abstract bibtex
Is there a relationship between computing costs and the confidence people place in the behavior of computing systems? What are the tuning knobs one can use to optimize systems for human confidence instead of correctness in purely abstract models? This report explores these questions by reviewing the mechanisms by which people build confidence in the match between the physical world behavior of machines and their abstract intuition of this behavior according to models or programming language semantics. We highlight in particular that a bottom-up approach relies on arbitrary trust in the accuracy of I/O devices, and that there exists clear cost trade-offs in the use of I/O devices in computing systems. We also show various methods which alleviate the need to trust I/O devices arbitrarily and instead build confidence incrementally "from the outside" by considering systems as black box entities. We highlight cases where these approaches can reach a given confidence level at a lower cost than bottom-up approaches.