Messages from the Director

Director Richard N. TaylorIn 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! 

Director Richard N. Taylor

Social media thrives on immediacy.  Whether a tweet, a Facebook update, or a post to a Google+ stream, the focus is “what’s going on now.”  The seductive character of immediacy, or at least of social media, unfortunately often seems to foster shallow relationships and shallow thinking.  Students walking around campus today are often less aware of their surroundings, and of each other, for many seem glued to staring at their “smart”phones while listening to music.  I frequently receive requests to become “friends” with someone on Facebook whom I have never heard of; stories abound of people who have hundreds of Facebook friends, yet are lonely for meaningful human relationships.

Early in June I had the privilege of giving a talk at the Boeing site in Huntington Beach, as part of their Distinguished Researcher and Scholar Seminar series.  I always appreciate the opportunity of speaking at industry events, for it gives me an occasion to learn more about the challenges and issues facing high-tech companies and consequently hone the direction of my research.  In trying to decide what my seminar would be about, I decided to leverage a surprise I’d had earlier in the year.  In February I needed to be away from campus, and hence my classes, due to some conference-related travel.  For my graduate class on software architecture, I decided to ask Dr.