Talks & Seminars
Real World Concerns in Software Development
Dr. Kesav V. Nori, Executive Director, Business Systems and Cybernetics Centre, TCS
Date & Time: August 30, 2006 14:30
Venue: KReSIT 'B' floor Lecture Hall
Most real world problems are poorly defined. Businesses, governments, even languages for the purposes of document processing, or communities served by operating systems are typical examples of problems that lack clear definitions. Yet computers, the epitome of unambiguous machines, are massively used to address such problems and mitigate the difficulties in coping with them. This is paradoxical, but ignored in the mainstream academic efforts in computing. We assume that specifications are possible and formality is the ultimate weapon to conquer such worlds. After the Santa Fe Institute was established nearly twenty years ago, the science of complexity emerged, and the terms 'at the edge of chaos', 'emergence' and 'complex adaptive systems' have been used to characterize such systems. They all exhibit living characteristics, evolve, have unending novelty and display emergent behaviour. These ideas need to be taken into account when trying to understand the needs and purposes of such systems. Some years ago, it was estimated that nearly 60 percent of software projects contracted never went to completion, and many of those that were completed were not effectively deployed, both because the problems they were to address were not clearly understood by the customers and software vendors. This points to a lack of professionalism in business, and lack of clarity in the underlying academics. Therefore, these concerns are important for research. In this lecture, we explore the nature of complex adaptive systems so as to provide a backdrop for the early phases in Software Processes, that of requirements gathering.
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