Software Architecture Workshop Featured Spirited Discussions
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 11 June, 2009 – About 100 students, researchers, educators, and practitioners attended the 8 June Software Architecture Challenges for the 21st Century Workshop, co-sponsored by IEEE Software magazine.
The workshop featured a full day of talks and panel discussions addressing both real-world challenges and emerging research solutions. Members of IEEE Software’s editorial board and faculty from University of Southern California’s Center for Systems and Software Engineering and the University of California, Irvine’s Institute for Software Research engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of the role and value of architecture in software development in the age of grid, cloud, Web, and volunteer computing.
Philippe Kruchten, a professor of software engineering at University of British Columbia and a member of IEEE Software’s editorial board, observed the inherent tensions between applying elements of both agile development and more formal architecture. USC computer science assistant professor Neno Medvidovic conducted a more-than-four-year examination of grid computing, including identifying some 250 architectural errors in existing deployments.
Most of the presentations came from real-world experiences. Case studies were cornerstone to all the talks, and insights and positions were grounded in years of study and research with companies around the world, including Seimens, Nokia, and Google.
“In an industry in which the hype cycle often pushes new buzzwords to the forefront with greater regularity than Moore’s law, it can be truly exciting to see real substantive exchanges among practitioners and researchers with the credentials and experience to back up their often-passionate views,” said Steve Woods, IEEE Computer Society magazine editorial manager, who helped plan the event.
Attendees witnessed some novel presentation approaches. Pekka Abrahamsson, a research professor at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, presented a video of a car crash to illustrate how projects fail. IBM Fellow Grady Booch’s avatar discussed the importance of simplification in design while standing by a firepit on the shore of his island in SecondLife. Andre van der Hoek, an associate professor in UCI’s Department of Informatics, showed how quickly developers can sketch out architectural patterns in the Calico electronic whiteboard environment and reminded us that “good designers know when to set things aside ... and when to stop drilling down.”
The day ended with a spirited discussion in which workshop chair Forrest Shull, an IEEE Software associate editor and a senior scientist at the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, led a panel of experts as they looked at the architectural and societal implications of new forms of massive computing (think clouds and grids). Questions of resources, the democratization of development, and the risks to security and privacy came up during the discussion, with some dogmas challenged, some common ground identified, and broad agreement reached that engaging active thought leaders is an effective means of wrestling with major issues that guide the digital future’s development.
About the Computer Society
With nearly 85,000 members, the IEEE Computer Society is the world’s leading organization of computing professionals. Founded in 1946, and the largest of the 39 societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Computer Society is dedicated to advancing the theory and application of computer and information-processing technology, and is known globally for its computing standards activities.
The Computer Society serves the information and career-development needs of today’s computing researchers and practitioners with technical journals, magazines, conferences, books, conference publications, and online courses. Its Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) program for mid-career professionals and Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA) credential for recent college graduates confirm the skill and knowledge of those working in the field. The CS Digital Library (CSDL) is an excellent research tool, containing more than 250,000 articles from 1,600 conference proceedings and 26 CS periodicals going back to 1988.