ICSE Shanghai 2006

28th International Conference on Software Engineering

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Conference: May 20-28, 2006 | Main Program: May 24-26, 2006 | Co-located Events / Workshops / Tutorials: May 20-24 & 27-28, 2006
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Fuqing Yang | Barry Boehm | Reinhold Achatz
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A View of 20th and 21st Century Software Engineering

Barry Boehm

Barry Boehm

TRW Professor of Software Engineering, Computer Science Department, USC
Director, USC Center for Software Engineering

Thursday, May 25, 2006


George Santayana's statement, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," is only half true. The past also includes successful histories. If you haven't been made aware of them, you're often condemned not to repeat their successes.

In a rapidly expanding field such as software engineering, this happens a lot. Extensive studies of many software projects such as the Standish Reports offer convincing evidence that this is the case.

This paper tries to identify at least some of the major past software experiences that were well worth repeating, and some that were not. It also tries to identify underlying phenomena influencing the evolution of software engineering practices that have at least helped the author appreciate how our field has gotten to where it has been and where it is.

A counterpart Santayana-like statement about the past and future might say, "In an era of rapid change, those who repeat the past are condemned to a bleak future." (Think about the dinosaurs, and think carefully about software engineering maturity models that emphasize repeatability.)

This paper also tries to identify some of the major sources of change that will affect software engineering practices in the next couple of decades, and identifies some strategies for assessing and adapting to these sources of change. It also makes some first steps towards distinguishing relatively timeless software engineering principles that are risky not to repeat, and conditions of change under which aging practices will become increasingly risky to repeat.


Slides from this keynote are available in PowerPoint format here.


Dr. Barry Boehm served within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) from 1989 to 1992 as director of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Office and as director of the DDR&E Software and Computer Technology Office. He worked at TRW from 1973 to 1989, culminating as chief scientist of the Defense Systems Group, and at the Rand Corporation from 1959 to 1973, culminating as head of the Information Sciences Department. He entered the software field at General Dynamics in 1955.

His current research interests involve recasting software engineering into a value-based framework, including processes, methods, and tools for value-based software definition, architecting, development, validation, and evolution.  His contributions to the field include the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO), the Spiral Model of the software process, and the Theory W (win-win) approach to software management and requirements determination.  He has received the ACM Distinguished Research Award in Software Engineering and the IEEE Harlan Mills Award, and an honorary ScD in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts.   He is a Fellow of the primary professional societies in computing (ACM), aerospace (AIAA), electronics (IEEE), and systems engineering (INCOSE), and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
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