Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
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The Impact of Scale

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  • Abstract

    Many systems of the future will be of ultra-large size on one or many dimensions -- number of lines of code; number of people employing the system for different purposes; amount of data stored, accessed, manipulated, and refined; number of connections and interdependencies among software components; and the number of hardware elements to which they interface. They will be ultra-large-scale (ULS) systems. 

    The characteristics of ULS systems, already evident in some of today's largest systems, imply changes in the fundamental assumptions that underlie today's software engineering approaches.  The gaps are strategic, not tactical.  Issues that are not significant at smaller scales become significant at ultra-large scales.  A multi-disciplinary perspective and new research are needed.  

    This talk shares the results of a year-long study on ULS systems, documented in Ultra-Large-Scale Systems: The Software Challenge of the Future (ISBN 0-9786956-0-7), as well as recent work in that area.

    About the Speaker

    Linda Northrop is director of the Research, Technology, and Systems Solution Program at the Software Engineering Institute where she leads the work in architecture-centric engineering, software product lines, systems of systems, and ultra-large scale systems. She is coauthor of Software Product Lines: Practices and Patterns. She recently led a year long study including leaders in the software community to define technical and social challenges to the creation of ultralarge-scale systems that will evolve in the next generation. The group published the study report, Ultra-Large-Scale Systems: The Software Challenge of the Future (ISBN 0-9786956-0-7).

    Before joining the SEI, she was associated with both the United States Air Force Academy and the State University of New York as professor of computer science, and with both Eastman Kodak and IBM as a software engineer.