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First Software Solutions Conference, Arlington, Va., Nov. 16-18, 2015

Software: Catalyst of Change

With the increasing reliance on and penetration of software into everyday lives, the need for organizations to predictably develop, acquire, and sustain high-quality software systems has never been greater. To address this need, the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is pleased to announce that it will host its first Software Solutions Conference (SSC) at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, Va., from Nov. 16 through 18.

Review the conference program here.
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Please help the SEI make its website more effective

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is conducting design research on the SEI website in an effort to make the site more user friendly. We are asking for the help of those with a technical background to take a brief usability test, which requires technical knowledge though there are no right or wrong answers. The test should take about 10-15 minutes, and those who take it will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card (you will be asked for your email address, which will be used to select the winning participant).

The test will be open until Friday, August 21 and can be accessed at

Thanks in advance for your help!

Rwandan Student Discovers Passion for Software Architecture at SATURN 2015

Gloria Ingabire, a student in the master’s of science in information technology program at Carnegie Mellon’s Rwanda campus, gave a presentation at SATURN 2015 in April. This article describes her experience at SATURN in her first trip to the United States.

Gloria Ingabire

Gloria Ingabire

Volunteers Sought for Software Complexity Study

Researchers in the Software Solutions Division at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) are seeking volunteers to participate in a study to identify and measure complexity in software models and to evaluate quality, productivity, and modeling tool usage outcomes in the context of complexity. The Effective Reduction of Avoidable Complexity in Embedded Systems (ERACES) Experiment is seeking up to 70 participants from two communities:

  • computer science students at a college or university
  • industry and government professionals from the software development domain

The call for participation is open now through June 30, 2015. Participants will gain reinforced knowledge of software modeling and a related tool set as well as a better appreciation of the notion of software complexity and the dimensions of avoidable complexity. After the experiment, participants will receive examples of avoidable complexity and actions to better avoid such complexity within their work.

The experiments will be conducted in two phases:

Phase 1 will consist of participants operating under timed test-taking conditions (approximately 2 hours) to evaluate and/or modify specific software models. Participants will remotely log in to participate in the experimental session. Prior to Phase 1, the research team will provide each participant with one day of free training on the use of a software modeling tool called SCADE, by ANSYS, and instructions on how to install it. Each training session will be followed by a single day of confidential exercises as part of the research experiment.

Phase 2 will consist of participants operating under timed test-taking conditions (approximately 4 hours) to develop a software model from a provided problem description.

For more information about the experiment or to volunteer, visit

Rich Program Earns Praise from SATURN 2015 Conference Attendees

See this summary of the SATURN 2015 Conference on the SEI website.

Microservices Workshop at SATURN 2015

On Monday, April 27, before the start of SATURN 2015, a small group of 16 software engineers met to explore ideas around the emerging microservices architecture trend. Microservices have seen a rapid rise in popularity over the past year or so, and we thought it would make an interesting topic of discussion. Sam Newman’s book covers significant ground and yet there there are still many nuances that we don’t fully understand.

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Gregor Hohpe’s Impressions of SATURN 2015

We were honored to have Gregor Hohpe, chief IT architect at Allianz, as one of our three keynote speakers this year at SATURN. In fact, we have been trying for several years to persuade Gregor to speak for us; this was the first time we succeeded.

Gregor has kindly posted his impressions of SATURN 2015 to his blog, and I urge you to read them. SATURN, writes Gregor, is “an amazing event [that is] a perfect blend of structured thinking from the academic edge combined with valuable industry experience.”

Many thanks to Gregor for his contributions to SATURN 2015 and his great blog post.

Bill Pollak
SATURN 2015 General Chair

SATURN 2015 Awards Conferred

Since 2010, the SEI and IEEE have been conferring two attendee-selected awards at SATURN. The IEEE Software SATURN Architecture in Practice Presentation Award is given to the presentation that best describes experiences, methods, and lessons learned from the implementation of architecture-centric practices. This year’s award winners were Jochem Schulenklopper and Eelco Rommes of inspearit for their presentation titled Why They Just Don’t Get It: Communicating Architecture to Business Stakeholders.

The second award, the IEEE Software SATURN New Directions Presentation Award, is given to the presentation that best describes innovative new approaches and thought leadership in the application of architecture-centric practices. This year’s award winners were Rebecca Wirfs-Brock of Wirfs-Brock Associates and Joseph Yoder of The Refactory, Inc. for their presentation titled QA to AQ: Shifting from Quality Assurance to Agile Quality.

In addition to reflecting the high regard of SATURN attendees, these awards also contribute to the maturation of the practice of software architecture by recognizing sound and innovative practices.

SATURN 2015 Keynote: Rethinking Architecture in the Context of DevOps (Session Notes)

Mark Schwartz, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Schwartz discussed some projects that he has led and lessons learned from the experiences in building systems for the government. He is CIO of one of three agencies that deal with immigration. USCIS processes 7 million applications per year for green cards, refugee status, citizenship, and other cases. USCIS is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which is important because the agency is under two tiers of enterprise architecture, and everybody wants to tell everybody else what to do. USCIS manages about 70 legacy IT systems, and Schwartz discussed three new projects.

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