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POSTPONED - Software Archipelagos Considered Harmful

30 Nov
Wednesday, 11/30/2022 12:20pm to 1:20pm
Computer Science Building, Room 150/151 or Zoom
Distinguished Lecturer Series

This event has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. It will be rescheduled for a later date. 

Abstract: Islands of related software systems regularly emerge through a recurring multi-year evolution chain of the systems' underlying architectures. Such software archipelagos are especially prevalent in, although they are not exclusive to, scientific-laboratory and academic settings, where proofs-of-concept are frequently developed to run experiments that tend not to generalize, and are then discarded after they fulfill their purpose (e.g., when the desired results are obtained, a paper is accepted for publication, or a doctoral dissertation is completed). However, there are cases when the resulting software grows into archipelagos of multi-purpose components, tools, frameworks, workbenches, and/or environments (e.g., when the developed capabilities are perceived by another scientist as a good foundation for their own research). These archipelagos possess unique characteristics and suffer from unique complications: due to the haphazard processes by which they emerge, they inherently accumulate technical debt. In turn, this directly hampers their transition to other research groups or to industrial usage, despite containing state-of-the-art technology. As a result, scientists tend to repeatedly reinvent the proverbial wheel, thus slowing innovation. This talk will propose the archipelago model, explain how and why it tends to emerge in scientific-lab and academic-research settings, illustrate it with real-world examples, and discuss the lessons-learned in the process of both growing and trying to make use of others' archipelagos.

Bio: Nenad Medvidovic is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Computer Science at USC. He is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. He has served as Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT). Additionally, he has served as Chair of the Steering Committees for ICSE, the International Conference on Software Engineering, and FSE, the Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering. He has been the recipient of the Okawa Foundation Research Grant (2005), the IBM Real-Time Innovation Award (2007), the USC Mellon Mentoring Award (2010), the OCEC Distinguished Engineering Merit Award (2018), and the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award (2020). Two of his papers have been recognized as Most Influential Papers ("test of time" awards), by the ICSE 2008 and SEAMS 2020 conferences. His papers have also been recognized with several "Best Paper" and "Most Cited Paper" awards. Medvidovic is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and an IEEE Fellow.

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