Converting Laws to Programs

Communications of the ACM 

You would think something as numerical as income tax law would be similar to mathematical logic, but it is not, Protzenko says, because it is not written with the precision and clarity that would "make it amenable to a very mathematical reading of it." For example, that law does not mention a number may need to be rounded into whole cents. "The law won't tell you what you're supposed to do with rounding numbers and that can lead to ambiguity and a lack of specification of what's supposed to happen," he says. Healthcare law is also very complex. Faisal Khan, senior legal counsel at healthcare law firm Nixon Gwilt Law in Vienna, VA, says, "Software for HIPAA compliance must incorporate algorithms that target and hit on all the top-level statutory requirements and implementing regulations.' To make that happen, Khan says, "There must be a team of compliance-related input as many of the regulations essentially function as guidelines for companies to adhere to." That means a process or ...

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