Automating Atlassian Processes; Virtue Ethics Analysis of Software Engineers on the Ariane 5 Flight 501 Project

Kaur, Simran, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Laugelli, Benjamin, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Graham, Daniel, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

My technical work and my STS research are connected in their aim to address the sociotechnical issue of how to best develop software. In my technical work, I outlined a new class that would teach computer science students how to develop DevOps automation software. My STS research analyzed a failure in software development, the crash of Ariane 5 flight 501, to identify ethical flaws in the character of software developers on the team that contributed to the failure. More generally, my technical work provides a method to teach technical software development methods, while my STS research addresses certain ethical characteristics that should be displayed by engineers during software development. I developed both of these papers concurrently. In the following paper, I will outline each of these papers and reflect on the value of working on them simultaneously.
My technical work develops a course that would provide students with the technical skills they need to properly develop software, specifically in the field of DevOps automation development. The computer science curriculum at the University of Virginia is lacking a course that teaches automation development in the DevOps concentration, which focuses on the integration of development and operations teams through infrastructure automation. In the technical paper, I outlined a class that would provide students who are interested in this field with an opportunity to learn about DevOps-focused automation development using industry-level software. This class would allow students to gain an understanding of the technical aspects of automation development in the context of a DevOps role.
In my STS research, I analyzed the crash of Ariane 5 flight 501 to provide an understanding of ethical flaws in the character of the software developers on the team that led to the failure. The Ariane 5 was a launcher that exploded 40 seconds into its first flight after deviating from is intended path due to an error in the alignment software. Using the ethical framework of virtue ethics, which assesses the ethical character of engineers using a set of virtues that are a defined as the moral mean between two vices, I found that the software engineers did not act morally while developing software for the Ariane 5 because they did not display the virtues of professionalism, reporting work carefully, and striving for quality. This conclusion provided an ethical foundation to the technical flaws that led to the explosion as well as an in sight into the morality of those who developed the software themselves.
I found the experience of working on both of these papers simultaneously to be quite valuable. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of software development as a whole by diving deeper into the technical and ethical aspects of this field through my technical work and STS project, respectively. Designing my proposed course in the technical work allowed me to gain an understanding of important topics of developing automation software and how to teach software development effectively. Analyzing the ethical character of the software developers on the Ariane 5 project provided me with a new perspective into what characteristics software engineers should exhibit and be mindful of as they develop their software. Overall, both of these papers highlighted the complexity of software development by outlining that software should be developed with both technical knowledge and ethical awareness. This was significant to me because it can extrapolated to the development of all technologies. Developing both of these papers concurrently allowed me to gain an understanding of the significance of considering both the technical and ethical implications while developing technologies.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Automation, Ariane 5, Virtue Ethics

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Writing Advisor: Rosanne Vrugtman
Technical Advisor: Daniel G. Graham
STS Advisor: Benjamin Laugelli

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