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Bernard of Chartres (via Sir Isaac Newton) reminded us that all progress is achieved “on the shoulders of giants” – that our greatest discoveries and innovations build upon the inspirations, triumphs, and foundational truths established by those who have gone before us. However, in our field of Software Engineering, as new ideas are transmitted at the speed of light, rather than the speed of Bernard’s horse, innovations are typically achieved as we, the ordinary people, exchange ideas, deliver incremental improvements, and offer the occasional truly novel idea to advance our field. In this fast-paced environment it is particularly important for us to take the time to build a strong foundation for our knowledge – keeping audit trails of our experiments, sharing our datasets, releasing the code we used to run our experiments, and generally making our work transparent and reproducible, so that we no longer depend on giants to further the field. Instead our successes are a collective effort from our community. Unfortunately, this degree of openness comes with its own challenges. In this talk, Dr. Cleland-Huang will explore some of the success stories in our field and discuss ways to deal with the psychological, philosophical, and practical barriers that impede open collaboration.
Dr. Jane Cleland-Huang is Professor of Software Engineering in the School of Computing at DePaul University, Chicago, where she serves as the director of the Systems and Requirements Engineering Center. She also serves as the North American Director of the International Center of Excellence for Software Traceability. Her research interests emphasize the application of machine learning and information retrieval methods to tackle large-scale Software Requirements problems. Dr. Cleland-Huang serves on the Editorial Board for the Requirements Engineering Journal, and as Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering and IEEE Software. She has been the recipient of the US National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, four ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards and 2006 IFIP TC2 Manfred Paul Award for Excellence in Software: Theory and Practice. She is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and the IEEE Women in Engineering. She received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
We’re into the 15th year of the 21st century, 1/7th of our way through it. We have spent one day of the 21st century week. It is time to pause, and look at what has changed since the start of the century, perhaps even make an informed proposal as to - how could we best align our engineering and research efforts for the rest of it.
Large scale computing (LSC) and computing everywhere in the form of mobile devices are having an irreversible and permanent impact in both the way we engineer our systems, and more importantly in the way we deploy and use these new capabilities. Let me illustrate LSC with some Google numbers; 3.5 billion searches daily, to search through 60 trillion web documents from 230 million domains. All of this powered by over 2.5 GW of renewable energy sources (466 MW in the US signed in 2014 alone, 300 MW Wind and 80 MW of Solar already signed up in the US for 2015). The way these new capabilities, from all of the tech industry, are transforming society is undeniable and profound - from the ubiquity of the Internet of Things to the Collaborative Commons. The pace of change in this first day of the new century is more significant by many measures than the combined preceding ~65 years of computing engineering history (one smartphone is equivalent to ~100,000 times of all NASA’s computing back in the late 60’s during the Apollo missions). However, even with all these advances we are still running into fundamental software engineering limits. Whereas our hardware capabilities followed the exponentials of Moore’s law, our engineering was perfected linearly at best. And what is truly disconcerting, sometimes we are actively working on fragmenting our knowledge and collaboration infrastructure - the Internet.
In this talk I will call attention to some of the engineering pain points ahead of us. Also at the opportunities to further accelerate change. I will argue that our research investment should share some of the common goals identified in the talk. Ultimately I will challenge us in how to rethink the way we engineer interactions with end users and design a socially responsible infrastructure. We have some days to go in this century and at this point we should probably start to form an idea of how we want to spend the weekend.
Boris Debić is a Google engineer. He holds an M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. At Google he has worked in several roles: G+Privacy, Release engineering, Global Infrastructure, Datacenter site location, Ads serving infrastructure. He has worked with Google.org on analysis and exchange of global climate modeling sets and agricultural data to provide food security forecasts. Informally he also wears the hat of Chief History Officer. With support from NASA Ames he directs NorCal Rover project. He is advisory member on the boards of several high tech startup companies. Prior to Google he held positions in: Silicon Valley startups, most notably E.piphany; the United Nations; the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Zagreb.
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