Hot Research

A decentralized system is a distributed system for which there is no central administrative authority to dictate how the distributed subsystems must be developed, operated, or maintained.  In decentralized systems service providers and service clients can each operate under different authority and evolve independently.  Designing and implementing these systems is a substantial challenge.  ISR Director Richard Taylor’s research group addresses these questions from a fresh perspective, COmputationAl State Transfer (COAST), an architectural style for secure and adaptive decentralized systems.  COAST constructions permit and encourage continuous accounting and systemic auditing to verify the correct operation and integrity of critical elements of a decentralized system.

A software engineer in Mountain View needs trust to collaborate with his peer in Bangalore efficiently. But they may never have the opportunity to meet each other physically. Technology is not yet good enough to produce a mini-wormhole for them to enjoy a coffee break together, but it is good enough for them to share fun images of their lattes and chat about everyday topics while they enjoy their lattes remotely, using appli-cations such as Facebook Messenger. Managers often distress when team members interact this way, thinking it a waste of time. But does informally ‘talking’ about everyday things in such ways help team members to build trust, or does it just squander valuable development time?

“Dynamism.  The quality of being characterized by change and progress.” Software, in particular, is defined by this quality.  From changing source code, contributed by teams of developers over the course of years, to billions of instructions performing calculations in the blink of an eye, software is highly dynamic. 

Although this quality can be awe-inspiring, it can also be intimidating and challenging for even the developers of the software to comprehend.  Bridging these gaps between ever-changing complexity and the need for human comprehension of these aspects of software is the subject of Professor Jim Jones’s research at UC Irvine.  

Back in the 1940s, the French writer Raymond Queneau wrote an interesting book with the title Exercises in Style featuring 99 renditions of the exact same story, each written in a different style.  It is a master piece of writing technique, as it illustrates the many different ways a story can be told.  The story being fairly trivial and always the same, the book shines the spotlight on form, rather than on content.  As such, the book is of great value to all those interested in the technical aspects of the Art of Writing, and in how the decisions we make in telling a story affect the perception of that story.

Sustainability has become a pressing concern, especially given the looming effects of climate change.  Sustainable development aims to meet present needs while ensuring sustainability of natural systems and the environment so as to not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  Current software engineering methods, however, do not explicitly support sustainability or sustainable development.  Yet because software systems have such an enormous influence on our daily lives—in many spheres and in varying contexts—comprehensively supporting sustainability in software engineering has considerable potential for making our planet greener in the long run as well as improving our communities and our environment.

It all started with a vision, inspired by a video on YouTube of a physics professor drawing on an electronic whiteboard and being able to instantly simulate the behavior of a car barreling down a hill, jumping off, and hitting and setting in motion a variety of obstacles.  What if, Professor André van der Hoek and his graduate student Alex Baker pondered, software engineering diagrams could behave in much the same way?  What if one could quickly sketch a software architecture, and then ask the diagram to tell us how it “felt,” for instance by moving incompatible interfaces further apart, coloring server

Personalization has become a household term in the online consumer market. E-tailers, search engines, and social networks all want to tailor their services to their users. Many surveys show that Internet users appreciate a personalized experience. At the same time, businesses that personalize their services see increased profits. Around 20-30% of Amazon purchases and 60% of Netflix views are a result of personalized recommendations.

ISR faculty, research staff, and students are actively involved in advancing the science and technology embodied in computer games and virtual worlds (CGVW). CGVW generally rely on common core software technologies, though the context of their application in entertainment systems versus enterprise platforms for R&D often determines whether they are labeled as a “computer game” or a “virtual world.” Thus, we adopt the combined label to focus on what is common in the development, use, and evolution of CG and VW. OK, good.  But why do CGVW merit scientific study and technology development? Is such study just a clever way to disguise playful fun as serious work?  How is work different than play?  If CGVW are software-intensive systems, then what kinds of software engineering research problems are associated with the development of CGVW?

On November 26, 2010, ISR Professor Gloria Mark presented the keynote talk at the Seventh National CCSCW (China Computer-Supported Cooperative Work) Conference, held in Nanjing, China. The talk was entitled “From the Silk Road to the Silicon Highway: Collaboration in a Global World.”  With Chinese academics and industry researchers in attendance, Mark spoke on social and technical issues that need to be addressed to support distributed collaboration on a global level. 

The World Wide Web evolved from humble beginnings to become a cornerstone of almost all facets of modern society, embracing activities as diverse as finance, communications, entertainment, and commerce.  ISR alumni have made fundamental contributions to the design and evolution of the Web, including Roy Fielding’s definitions of the Representational State Transfer (REST) architectural style and the HTTP/1.1 protocol, ISR Prof.