February 17 – 21 , 1992, Dagstuhl Seminar 9208

Future Directions in Software Engineering


N. Habermann, W.F. Tichy

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Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available
Dagstuhl-Seminar-Report 32


The intent of the workshop was to identify promising directions for future research in Software Engineering. The motivation for the meeting was the shared realization that although the quantity of research in Software Engineering has been increasing, quality has not. Emphasis on software development management and risk control has diverted attention from important technical issues. Fresh ideas and solid, technical results are rare. This situation has a negative impact on Software Engineering as a whole and deprives industry of potential technical benefits.

The first four days of the workshop were spent in intensive discussions. The abstracts of participants' position statements and discussion summaries follow this epitome. During the final session, each participant was given a ten minute timeslot for presenting the areas of Software Engineering where research should be intensified. Participants were specifically asked to consider areas in which they were not involved personally. Below is an extract of these presentations, compiled by the editors. The following topics emerged as crucial for progress:

  1. Software architecture as a foundation;
  2. Mastering evolving systems;
  3. A scientific basis for Software Engineering;
  4. Education based on engineering know-how.

Formal methods, domain specific knowledge, special purpose languages, and reuse were seen as important approaches to software architecture and evolution, but not as ends in themselves. There was also a fair amount of introspection of what constitutes appropriate research methodology in Software Engineering.


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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