What really has changed

While reading the Report on a conference sponsored by the NATO SCIENCE COMMITTEE Garmisch, Germany, 7th to 11th October 1968, I was amazed to read the opening comments as to the motivation behind the conference: “One of the major motivations for the organizing of the conference was an awareness of the rapidly increasing importance of computer software systems in many activities of society.”

Then when reading the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee Report to the President (1999) I read: “Information Technology will be one of the key factors driving progress in the 21st century it will transform the way we live, learn, work, and play.”

Followed by reading Ian Sommerville: “Virtually all countries now depend on complex computer-based systems. National infrastructures and utilities rely on computer-based systems…”(Software Engineering, Sommerville, 2007).

What does this tell us: 40 years further into the software engineering discipline we are still talking in similar terms. Software is going to play a key role in the evolution of society as we know it. It was foreseen in 1968, and we continue to see it today. We now talk about our Digital Lifestyle, where so much of our lives are stored in the digital zone. Even so, we are still working out the same thing, how do we produce better software faster, software that won’t collapse under pressure, software that won’t do strange things when we least expect it?

I think these types of questions will remain for quite sometime to come. In the mean time, we can continue to strive to produce higher quality software, with fewer bugs, that achieve the goal set out for them in more efficient ways.

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