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Architecting the Future of Software Engineering: A National Agenda for Software Engineering Research & Development

Created November 2021

We live in an age of software-enabled transformation. Software makes our world-class healthcare, defense, commerce, communication, education, and energy systems possible. Software engineering is the discipline that builds the invisible foundation upon which all this rests. As we become almost completely dependent on ever larger and more complex software-reliant systems, the competitiveness and security of our nation will increasingly depend on our ability to engineer software. A focused effort and continual investment in critical software engineering knowledge, technologies, and foundational research are needed to make next-generation applications possible.

A Guiding Vision and Roadmap for the Future of Software Engineering

Architecting the Future of Software Engineering: A National Agenda for Software Engineering Research & Development, a study written in collaboration with the software engineering community, reimagines the discipline of software engineering and identifies the technologies and areas of research that are most critical for enabling future systems. The research roadmap provided by this study offers a path toward a new vision: one in which humans and AI are trustworthy collaborators that rapidly evolve systems based on programmer intent.

“As software-enabled systems and applications become integral to every sector of our economy, this is a critical time to re-envision the future of software engineering, and I am pleased that CMU’s SEI is working with its partners to define this paradigm shift. With breathtaking advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can create the next generation of societal and global software platforms, ones that are trustworthy, reliable, safe, and secure,” said Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian.

Study Advisory Board

  • Deb Frincke, Chair Associate Laboratory Director for National Security Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Sara Manning Dawson, Chief Technology Officer, Enterprise Security, Microsoft
  • Jeff Dexter, Senior Director of Flight Software & Cybersecurity, SPACEX
  • Yolanda Gil, Director of Knowledge Technologies, Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California
  • Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
  • Penny Compton, Vice President for Software Systems, Cyber, and Operations, Lockheed Martin Space
  • Tim McBride, President, Zoic Labs
  • Michael McQuade, Vice President for Research, CMU
  • Nancy Pendleton, Vice President and Senior Chief Engineer for Mission Systems, Payloads and Sensors, Boeing Defense, Space and Security
  • Tim Dare, Defense Business Technical Director,  Booz Allen Hamilton
  • William Scherlis, Director, Information Innovation Office, DARPA

Research and Enactment Recommendations Catalyze Change

Future research must be planned with the software ecosystem in mind, and it must be representative of key software engineering challenges. In close collaboration with an advisory board and other leaders in the software engineering research community, the study authors selected six research focus areas, which are described in detail the study. The research topics and recommendations in this report provide the essential groundwork for advancing the discipline of software engineering.

Read more in the blog post,  Architecting the Future of Software Engineering: A Research and Development Roadmap.


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