In the introduction of The Development of Design, Gordon Glegg describes a rare and important type of explorer that is the engineering scientist.
[The engineering scientist] not only seeks knowledge but he also applies it. His duty is to the community. His success lies in the tangible, and his satisfaction springs from creating something both new and useful.
SATURN is the conference for engineering scientists who practice in the field of software architecture. Knowledge shared at SATURN is intended to be put into practice. The technical program in general is all about sharing important lessons we’ve learned when designing and building software systems.
The program committee hopes that everyone who attends SATURN leaves with at least one nugget of wisdom or amazing idea (hopefully more than one) that can be used to meaningfully improve their project, team, or company after the conference. Whether that wisdom or idea comes from stories and lessons learned through a harrowing project or from a lecture on essential skills every architect should know, the knowledge learned at SATURN is meant to be put into practice.
While the focus of the conference is on practice, research also plays an important role in two ways:
Practitioners need access to new research so they can continue to push the state of practice forward by applying new ideas and putting research to the test in the field.
Researchers need feedback from practitioners to identify gaps where new research is needed, and to validate that their research is solving important problems within real constraints. In some cases, access to practitioners is even required to perform research in the first place.
Research is just as important as participatory workshops, tutorials, technology demos, and lessons learned from the field, but at SATURN that research needs to be packaged in such a way that it can be used by practitioners. If you are a software architecture researcher trying to decide whether SATURN is the right conference for you–it is. You just might need to change the way you share your research, and perhaps even be prepared to take advantage of the wide access to software architecture practitioners available at SATURN. With this in mind, writing a paper is not required to present at SATURN–just an abstract and a prepared presentation that can be shared afterward. (Example abstracts and presentation materials from SATURN 2013 are available at the SATURN 2013 website.)
No matter what your focus–research or practice–it is expected that sessions at SATURN will teach attendees something they can apply in a way that is easy to learn. Whether the information includes known best practices or unproven but promising ideas, whether the knowledge originates in research or industry–all amazing ideas that help improve the current state of software architecture practice are welcome.
SATURN 2014 will be held in Portland, Oregon, May 5-9, 2014. See the SATURN 2014 Call for Submissions to learn how you can submit an abstract to present your ideas at SATURN 2014.
– Michael Keeling
SATURN 2014 Technical Chair