David Weiss, the Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Endowed Chair of Software Engineering in the ISU Department of Computer Science, delivered a keynote address at the recently held Brazilian Conference on Software: Theory and Practice (CBSoft), the premier Brazilian event for software.
CBSoft integrates four traditional events organized by the Brazilian community for software development: XIV Brazilian Symposium on Programming Languages (SBLP), IV Brazilian Symposium on Components, Software Architecture and Software Reuse (SBCARS) and VIII Latin American Conference on Pattern Languages of Programming (SugarLoafPlop).
Weiss spoke about Software Product Line Engineering (SPLE), a method for creating a family of products designed to take advantage of their common aspects (commonalities) and predicted variabilities. A product line may be software only, e.g., a family of GUIs; software + hardware, e.g., a family of televisions; or hardware only. The variability accommodated by the product line is an economic decision and strongly affects the technology and the architecture used in the design and implementation of the product line.
The purpose of SPLE is to make the production of members of the family highly efficient, accomplishing for software similar effects to bringing production lines to other industries. Weiss notes that , "Empirical studies, using baseline techniques, suggest that applying product line engineering produces a factor of three to five improvement in product development cost or product development speed."
Dr. Weiss's talk focused on the architectural considerations in defining and designing a product line, particularly questions such as "What are the attributes of a good software product line architecture?" and "How might a product line architecture change the economics of software development?", introducing an open market both in architecture and in software components. He illustrated points with examples taken from Lucent Technologies and Avaya, from the Software Product Line Hall of Fame, from building architecture, and from other industries.
The conference and its associated events was hosted by the Brazilian Computer Society (SBC), established in 1978 as a scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of Computer Science in Brazil and the associated technologies and applications. SBC is a leading forum for researchers, students and computing professionals working in the various fields of Computer Science and Information Technology, since it is the largest computer society in South America.