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It's programming Jim, but not as we know it

A company based in the high-tech hothouse of Cambridge has produced another futuristic idea looking for funding - a system which translates English language programming requests into functioning code.
Written by Kate Hanaghan, Contributor

A company based in the high-tech hothouse of Cambridge has produced another futuristic idea looking for funding - a system which translates English language programming requests into functioning code.

Bob Brennan, a software engineer at Synapse Solutions, claims the technology - called MI-Tech - can understand the everyday language requests of a novice programmer and turn them directly into machine code. "It will completely replace all programming languages," he said. He hopes it will ultimately give people with far less technical expertise than is currently needed the ability to create applications. But not everyone is convinced. Sophia Drossopoulou, senior lecturer in computing at London's Imperial College, said that the technology could only be useful for non-critical programming, such as asking your PC to play a tune at a certain time of the day. "I don't believe it is possible to find the 'real' meaning of an English language sentence, or to realise all the possible meanings," she said. "I think it's a non-starter. I don't see a big market. If you're a serious programmer, English language is not precise enough, unlike Java or C++." In spite of Drossopoulou's scepticism, Brennan hopes that within 18 months, Synapse will have successfully gained seed funding, and gone on to establish major licensing deals with software companies. For more information, see http://www.synapse-solutions.co.uk
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