Software Engineering Techniques: Report on a Conference sponsored by the NATO Science Committee, Rome, Italy, October 1969 by JN Buxton, B Randell”editors”.
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1 Theory and practice
2 Software specification
3 Software quality
4 Software flexibility
5 Large systems
6 Software engineering education
7 Working papers
Appendix 1 List of participants
Appendix 2 Addresses of welcome
PREFACE: A working conference on software engineering techniques, sponsored by the NATO Science Committee, was held from the 27th to 31st October 1969, near Rome, Italy. The conference was intended as a direct sequel to the NATO conference on software engineering held at Garmisch, Germany, from 7th to 11th October 1968. About sixty people
from eleven countries attended the meeting. A list of participants is provided in Appendix 1.
This report summarizes the discussions held at the conference and includes a selection from the more than 50 working papers prepared by the conference participants. The report has been prepared in much the same manner as was used for the report of the Garmisch conference, and which is described in the preface to that report. Material from the working papers and from transcribed and edited discussions has been combined under specific headings into sections 1 to 6 of this report. Lengthy working papers that have been selected for the report are reproduced in section 7.
Two sessions at the conference, on the subject of the NATO Science Committee proposals for an International Institute for Software Engineering, which were in the main nontechnical, have not been covered in this report. The similarities of the structure of this report to that of its predecessor are to a certain extent superficial, owing to the fact that the Rome conference turned out to be rather different in form from the Garmisch conference. The reasons for this, and the effect that they have had on the report are discussed in the introduction. The opinions expressed in the introduction are entirely the responsibility of the editors. In the rest of the report the editors have endeavoured to restrict their role to that of selection and classification of material.
As with the Garmisch report, readers should keep in mind the fact that all those present at the meeting expressed their views as individuals and in no sense as representatives of the organizations with which they are affiliated.
The actual work on the report was a joint undertaking by several people. The large amounts of typing and other office chores were done by Miss Margaret Chamberlin and Miss Ann Laybourn. During the conference notes were taken by Rod Ellis and Ian Hugo, who also operated the tape recorders, and by John Buxton and Brian Randell. The reviewing and sorting of material for the report, and the final write-up were done by John Buxton and Brian Randell assisted by Rod Ellis and Ian Hugo. The final version of the report was prepared by The Kynoch Press, using their computer typesetting system (see Cox, N. S. M. and Heath, W. A.: ‘The integration of the publishing process with computer manipulated data’. Paper presented to the Seminar on Automated Publishing Systems, 7–13th September 1969, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Computer Typesetting Research Project), the preliminary text processing being done using the Newcastle File Handling System (see the paper by Cox and Dews in: Cox, N. S. M. and Grose, M. W. (editors): ‘Organization and handling of bibliographic records by computer’, 1967, Newcastle upon Tyne, Oriel Press Ltd.). Keypunching of the text and the composition control codes was done by Ron White of The Kynoch Press as part of a study undertaken with the support of the National Graphical Association. The computer time was 6 generously provided by Professor E. S. Page, Director of the Computing Laboratory of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. During the conference photocopying equipment was provided by the Dupleco Company.
One quotation from the discussion during the closing section of the conference seems appropriate to end this preface.
Randell: Writing this sort of report is like building a big software system. When you’ve done one you think you know all the answers and when you start another you realize you don’t even know all the questions.
INTRODUCTION: The Rome conference on software engineering techniques was intended as a direct sequel to the conference on software engineering held in Garmisch, Germany, 7th to 11th October 1968. The Rome conference took on a form rather different from that of the conference in Garmisch and hence the resemblance between this report and its predecessor is somewhat superficial. The role played by the editors has changed and this change deserves explanation.
The Garmisch conference was notable for the range of interests and experience represented amongst its participants. In fact the complete spectrum, from the inhabitants of ivory-towered academe to people who were right on the firingline, being involved in the direction of really large scale software projects, was well covered. The vast majority of these participants found commonality in a widespread belief as to the extent and seriousness of the problems facing the area of human endeavour which has, perhaps somewhat prematurely, been called “software engineering”. This enabled a very productive series of discussions, in both plenary and informal parallel sessions, to take place. During these the goal was to identify, classify, and discuss the problems, both technical and managerial, which face the various different classes of software projects, up to and including the type of projects which can only be measured in man-millenia. Also, the fact that the goal of the conference was to produce a report was always kept in mind. As a result, at the end of the conference, the editors (Peter Naur and Brian Randell), had a comparatively clear idea of what the conference participants hoped for from the report and a detailed initial draft of the structure that the report should have. The role of the editors could therefore be largely restricted to that of selecting and classifying statements made by participants in working papers or at the conference.
The intent of the organizers of the Rome conference was that it should be devoted to a more detailed study of technical problems, rather than including also the managerial problems which figured so largely at Garmisch. However, once again, a deliberate and successful attempt was made to attract an equally wide range of participants. The resulting conference bore little resemblance to its predecessor. The sense of urgency in the face of common problems was not so apparent as at Garmisch. Instead, a lack of communication between different sections of the participants became, in the editors’ opinions at least, a dominant feature. Eventually the seriousness of this communication gap, and the realization that it was but a reflection of the situation in the real world, caused the gap itself to become a major topic of discussion. Just as the realization of the full magnitude of the software crisis was the main outcome of the meeting at Garmisch, it seems to the editors that the realization of the significance and extent of the communication gap is the most important outcome of the Rome conference.
In view of these happenings, it is hardly surprising that the editors received no clear brief from the conference as to the structure and content of the report. It seemed to us that the most useful discussions centered around specific problem areas in need of solution rather than specific techniques in search of problem areas. We have therefore structured the report accordingly.
8 The problem areas into which we have classified the material are clearly neither all of the same importance, nor at similar states of development, nor even completely independent of each other. Rather, they constitute, in our opinion, a convenient classification of the discussions and the working material submitted.
Some of the material presented either in working papers or in discussion related directly to areas of the subject that were extensively discussed at Garmisch, such as various managerial and organizational problems. In general this material has not been included unless, in our view, it has substantially extended or thrown new light upon these areas. Furthermore much working material concerned subjects which were not discussed at the conference. In the absence of the guidance which such discussions would have given us, we chose in general not to include such material in this report. The material submitted by the editors themselves was in fact rejected on these grounds.
Software Engineering Techniques: Report on a Conference sponsored by the NATO Science Committee, Rome, Italy, October 1969 by JN Buxton, B Randell pdf.
⏩Editors: JN Buxton, B Randell
⏩Publisher: NATO Science Committee; First Edition edition (1970)
⏩Puplication Date: 1970
⏩Size: 2.59 MB
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