In the parlance of the University of California system, the Institute for Software Research is an “Organized Research Unit,” or ORU. All ORUs are reviewed at five-year intervals by the University to determine if they are still performing top-tier research and providing important services to the University and to the community at large. ISR’s most recent review began last summer, with our preparation of a large summary-of-progress report, followed by scrutiny by anonymous reviewers external to the university, followed by still-further review by a committee within the university. After all that work (whew!) I am happy to report that we were renewed for another five years!
On one hand I am not surprised, given that I am well-aware of the incredible breadth and depth of ISR-supported research and the degree to which we impact industry. On the other hand, as you are doubtless aware, the University of California system is under severe budget pressure due to California’s never-ending budget failures. Hence I am very pleased with the outcome of the review; it is a strong endorsement of our ongoing contributions. And “Thank you!” to all of those involved in the many stages of this review process.
On another note, I had the privilege of visiting Korea in March, presenting a two-day tutorial on software architecture at Samsung Electronics, and a one-day seminar on architecture at a software engineering professional society meeting in Seoul. While this was my first in-depth interaction with Korean colleagues, it was far from the first for ISR. As an accompanying article on Prof. Walt Scacchi’s visit to Korea shows, there is significant focus in Korea on software engineering and software engineering education. Other ISR faculty have been engaged with Korea as well. The intersection of interests between ISR faculty and Korean industry is very strong, and I expect substantial deepening of these ties in the future. Korean industry is committed to leveraging the best software engineering research results, and we look forward to working with them as partners in the near future. It is very gratifying to see such major industry players recognize the critical role of software engineering research in advancing their commercial interests.
On still another note, you are doubtless aware that we restarted our annual Research Forum in May. We had temporarily suspended this event due to budget pressures, but were able to reignite it this year. And I am so glad we did! The event was the most popular in our history, with a variety of faculty speakers, an open house for in-depth lab visits, and a keynote speaker, Professor Betty Cheng from Michigan State University. I was especially pleased to see many new faces from industry --- who had obviously done their homework and came looking for research that can help solve some of their problems. I heard reports of many excellent conversations, and look forward to seeing those deepen into “meaningful relationships.” For more on the 2012 ISR Research Forum, see this Spotlight article.
Lastly, you may recall that in the previous issue of the ISR Connector I wrote about “Substance, Immediacy, and Focus,” commenting on social media, the tendency of our field to dutifully salute the latest buzzword, and the genuine need for consistent attention to “deep work.” I was somewhat surprised to hear back -- quickly! -- from many of you; the message must have resonated. Most responses were very much an endorsement of the message; one or two others not so much :-) Whatever your position I hope you will continue to join us in pushing forward the boundaries of our field.
ISR Director Richard N. Taylor