Programming under pressure
Haifa seminar takes a closer look at trends in software development
As businesses worldwide are tightening their belts in light of the current global economic crisis, some software researchers are realizing that today's challenges are not all bad news. For some, the current climate also presents opportunities for developers to hone their skills, meet more focused development scheduling, and add business value.
This realization was one of the conclusions of the recent Programming Languages and Development Environments (PLDE) Seminar, held at the IBM Haifa Research Lab in Israel. The discussion on software development in times of crisis took place in a very diverse panel at the seminar, which featured development team leaders from IBM and other multinational companies, as well as some established Israeli companies and local startups.
Keynotes from leading IBMers
In addition to the panel and several papers given by IBM researchers and leading university experts, the seminar featured two keynote addresses by high-level IBM technical thought leaders.
IBM Fellow and IBM Research Chief Scientist for Software Engineering Grady Booch gave a talk on software as a strategic weapon. Delivered via Second Life as his SL alter ego Alem Theas, Grady's talk was an inspiring look at what he referred to as "the dance" between the push of business requirements and the pull of technology. He reviewed software engineering best practices that enable innovation while allowing organizations to develop and operate complex software-intensive systems.
IBM Research strategist for Services Software Engineering Sridhar Iyengar gave a talk that examined the evolution and future of software architecture. An IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sridhar described how emerging industry architecture trends and standards are shaping the industry and methods, as well as tools and middleware.
The nearly annual PLDE seminar is an important forum for the tight-knit Israeli software research community. The seminar gave local researchers a chance to present some of their recent work in such areas as agile programming, model-driven development, programming niches, end-user software development, and product lines.
"The PLDE is a real community-building event that gives researchers and developers in the area the opportunity to get together and see what everyone else is working on," explained HRL researcher Dolev Dotan, who co-organized the seminar with fellow researchers Yishai Feldman and Yael Dubinsky, along with Tel Aviv University professor Amiram Yehudai. Participants attended from organizations from all over the country.
According to Feldman, even in this age of "do it yourself" applications, software research is as relevant as ever.
"A growing number of people are programming software, yet they're increasingly less qualified to do so," he explained. To verify that software systems continue to run smoothly even when programmed partially by new practitioners, research into evolving software systems and methods is becoming even more crucial than in the past.
To learn more about the recent PLDE seminar and download abstracts and presentations, see the seminar web site.