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Colloquium - Mayr

35 Years of Software Engineering -- Fact or Fiction?
Heinrich Mayr
University of Klagenfurt, Austria
10/17/2003
11:30am-12:30pm

The notion of "Software Engineering" was introduced in the year 1968 in order to set a contra point against the paradigm of the "art of computer programming" which was prevailing at that time. Nevertheless, 35 years later, it seems that a big portion of software developers still do not engineering but tinkering in a more or less unsystematic fashion. Moreover, the actual discussion about software patents in Europe shows that the majority of software developers do not understand software development as an engineering discipline.

The talk starts with some results of a comprehensive study of the German software branch, which among others revealed that only 30% of all software houses use modern software development methods and tools in a systematic way. After an analysis of the reasons for that situation some preconditions and "todo's" for enhancing it are outlined. A particular aspect is the need for more user centeredness in requirements engineering which would allow the stakeholders/end-users to validate requirements specifications thoroughly. This requires, among others, user oriented requirements models. Conceptual pre-design, a requirements modeling method developed at the University of Klagenfurt, will be introduced and argued to provide for such models. The talk ends with an outlook to new challenges that come with the increasing data flood.

Heinrich C. Mayr, the president of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (the German/Austrian/Swiss equivalent of the ACM), received his doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Grenoble (France) in 1975. Between 1975 and 1983 he was an assistant professor at the University of Karlsruhe (Germany). From 1984-1990 he was CEO of a German software company. Since 1990 he is full professor of informatics at the Institute of Business Informatics and Application Systems at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, and heads the eBusiness Institute, an industry funded institution. His current research includes information systems design methodologies, natural language processing in requirements analysis, knowledge management and case based reasoning in the context of service systems, software project management, and distance education.

Jointly sponsored with the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design and the Institute of Cognitive Science.
Hosted by Gerhard Fischer.

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