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SATURN Blog

SEI Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) News and Updates

Introducing new software languages, tools, and methods in industrial and production environments incurs a number of challenges. Among other necessary changes, practices must be updated, and engineers must learn new methods and tools. These updates incur additional costs, so transitioning to a new technology must be carefully evaluated and discussed. Also, the impact and associated costs for introducing a new technology vary significantly by type of project, team size, engineers’ backgrounds, and other factors, so that it is hard to estimate the real acquisition costs. This blog post at the SEI blog presents research conducted independently of the SEI that aims to evaluate the safety concerns of several unmanned aerial vehiclesystems using the Architecture Analysis and Design Language (AADL) and the SEI safety-analysis tools implemented in OSATE.

Portland, Oregon native and well-known writer and blogger Scott Hanselman spoke at SATURN 2014 this year ("JaveScript, the Cloud, and the New Virtual Machine") and, while there, he interviewed Len Bass for The Hanselminutes Podcast: Fresh Air for Developers. Len is a senior principal researcher at NICTA in Australia. During his long and distinguished career at the SEI, Len was co-author many seminal publications in the field of software architecture including Software Architecture in Practice. In the podcast, Stories of Computer Science Past and Present with Len Bass, Len shares stories from his 40+ year career in software.

Sixth International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt Co-located with 30th International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME 2014) Victoria, British Columbia, Canada September 30, 2014 http://www.sei.cmu.edu/community/td2014/ Technical debt is a metaphor that software developers and managers increasingly use to communicate key tradeoffs related to release and quality issues. The Managing Technical Debt workshop series has, since 2010, brought together practitioners and researchers to discuss and define issues related to technical debt and how they can be studied. Workshop participants reiterate the usefulness of the metaphor each year, share emerging practices used in software development organizations, and emphasize the need for more research and better means for sharing emerging practices and results.

Notes by Ziyad Alsaeed, edited by Tamara Marshall-Keim Transparency: An Architecture Principle for Socio-Technical Ecosystems Felix Bachmann and Linda Northrop, Software Engineering Institute Felix and Linda shared their experience as a team in the XSEDE project. They presented compelling evidence of the need to have transparent architecture and architectural practices in socio-technical ecosystems like XSEDE. XSEDE is a virtual, high-performance computer system that allows interactivity for scientists (e.g., biologists, mechanical engineers, environmentalists) all over the world to run their experiments. Experiments are usually of the types that need super-powerful computing capabilities. The system is distributed over a wide distance, and engineers or developers have different global and local priorities. Due to the size of the project and the high complexity, architectural guidance was necessary to ensure the success of the project. Felix’s and Linda’s team responsibilities are to help the team make the right architectural decisions, coach the team on how to incorporate architectural practices, and research missions.

Notes by Ziyad Alsaeed, edited by Tamara Marshall-Keim Can You Hear Me Now? The Art of Applying Communication Protocols When Architecting Real-Time Control Systems Todd Farley, BAE Systems, Inc. BAE Systems deals with architecting real-time control systems. These systems are usually complicated and distributed. Also, the lifetimes of projects are usually very long. So BAE must always answer this question: Which process should they adapt? The problems they face tend to fall into three categories:

  • motion control systems (~robots)
  • computation-intensive algorithms
  • user interfaces

Notes by Ziyad Alsaeed, edited by Tamara Marshall-Keim BI/Big Data Reference Architectures and Case Studies Serhiy Haziyev and Olha Hrytsay, SoftServe, Inc. Serhiy and Olha shared their experience with the tradeoff between modern and traditional (non-relational and relational) reference architectures. They looked into the challenges associated with each approach and gave tips from real-life case studies on how to deal with big data reference architecture. As a reminder, they visited some of the known big data challenges:

  • Data is generated from many and different sources.
  • As data grows, it becomes complicated and heterogeneous (velocity and volume) until it’s no longer manageable.