Author Archives: marshallkeim

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


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.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: Leading Change: Engaging Critical Stakeholders for Project Success (Session Notes)

Marisa Sanchez, Independent Consultant

Sanchez works in the arena of large-scale technology change and facilitated a participatory session on how to engage your most critical stakeholders to support your project. Her stakeholder engagement framework has three steps: (1) identify stakeholders, (2) analyze stakeholders, and (3) develop engagement strategies.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: The Architectural Analysis for Security (AAFS) Method

Jungwoo Ryoo, Pennsylvania State University, and Rick Kazman, University of Hawaii and Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary’s University

In his talk titled “Architectural Analysis for Security (AAFS),” Jungwoo Ryoo explained that there is an absence of security practices in software architecture. His research concerns developing and implementing a methodology to test and secure software systems starting at the design phase. The architectural analysis is basically a structured way of discovering these security issues. It has frequently been common to implement methods like this after the design of the system, and Dr. Ryoo warned against this.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: Maturing Agile Teams and Driving Quality Through Architecture Principles (Session Notes)

Amine Chigani and Yun Freund, GE Software

At GE, software is a horizontal capability in the company, with over 14,000 software professionals in the business. GE Software is launching the Predix™ platform, which will be a common theme across all of GE’s industries, and the company will make this platform available to the world later this year.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: Agilizing the Architecture Department (Session Notes)

Eltjo Poort, CGI

Poort’s job is to review bids and projects and contribute to standardizing and improving architecture practice, based on what he finds in those reviews. In this experience report, he described experiences implementing a solution-architecting approach developed at CGI at a client’s organization.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: Programming in the 1960s: A Personal History (Session Notes)

Len Bass

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary’s University

Len Bass gave us a witty and comical presentation titled “Programming in the 1960s: A Personal History.” He took us through his early education and career in computer science.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: Perspectives on the Modern Practice of Software Architecture (Session Notes)

Jeromy Carriere, Rick Buskens, and Jack Greenfield, Google

Evolving Mission-Critical “Legacy” Systems, Rick Buskens

Buskens’s team is a multisite team that works on a suite of projects focused on Google’s internal structure, while others are external-facing and cloud. The infrastructure for running services at Google is built on Borg, a cluster-management system that runs hundreds of thousands of jobs across thousands of applications in clusters of tens of thousands of machines. Borg is an internal cloud infrastructure, whose users have many different needs; a service configuration specification called BCL (Borg Configuration Language) allows users to tell Borg what those needs are. Buskens’s team works on Borg Config, which interprets the service configuration for Borg; it manages the millions of jobs running each day. BorgCron works for scheduled and repeated tasks at Google scale.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: Systems Characterization: An Approach to Modernizing Disparate Legacy Systems (Session Notes)

Jane Orsulak and Julie Kent, Raytheon

by Jacob Tate, Mount St. Mary’s University

Jane Orsulak and Julie Kent kicked off the experience-presentation session on SATURN’s final day by talking about “System Characterization: An Approach to Modernizing Disparate Legacy Systems.” In this presentation, they gave a summary of some of the training that soldiers have to go through, such as live training and virtual training.

Continue reading

SATURN 2015: QA to AQ: Shifting from Quality Assurance to Agile Quality (Session Notes)

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, Wirfs-Brock Associates, and Joseph Yoder, The Refactory, Inc.

How do you make quality happen? Budget time for quality discussions and quality testing. During envisioning and requirements gathering, identify core qualities. The core goal of agile and lean was not just to go faster, but to get rid of waste. Quality can be a result of those processes, but you need to engineer for quality by architecting for quality and then testing for it. You’ll also need to determine appropriate times when qualities can be tested and delivered.

Continue reading