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The Latest Research in Software Engineering and Cybersecurity

Occasionally this blog will highlight different posts from the SEI blogosphere. Today's post is from the SATURN Network blog by Nanette Brown, a senior member of the technical staff in the SEI's Research, Technology, and System Solutions program. This post, the third in a series on lean principles and architecture, continues the discussion on the eight types of waste identified in Lean manufacturing and how these types of waste manifst themselves in software development. The focus of this post is on mapping the waste of motion and the waste of transportation from manufacturing to the waste of information transformation in software development.

Organizations run on data. They use it to manage programs, select products to fund or develop, make decisions, and guide improvement. Data comes in many forms, both structured (tables of numbers and text) and unstructured (emails, images, sound, etc.). Data are generally considered high quality if they are fit for their intended uses in operations, decision making, and planning. This definition implies that data quality is both a subjective perception of individuals involved with the data, as well as the quality associated with the objective measurements based on the data set in question. This post describes the work we're doing with the Office of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L)--a division of the Department of Defense (DoD) that oversees acquisition programs and is charged with, among other things, ensuring that the data reported to Congress is reliable.

Background: In our research and acquisition work on commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) programs, ranging from relatively simple two-tier data-processing applications to large-scale multi-tier weapons systems, one of the primary problems that we see repeatedly is that acquisitionand development organizations encounter the following three obstacles concerning safety- and security-related requirements:

Background: Over the past decade, the U.S. Air Force has asked the SEI's Acquisition Support Program (ASP) to conduct a number of Independent Technical Assessments (ITAs) on acquisition programs related to the development of IT systems, communications, command and control, avionics, and electronic warfare systems. This blog post is the third in a series that enumerates common themes across acquisition programs that we identified as a result of our ITA work. Other themes explored in this series include misaligned incentives, the need to sell the program, and common infrastructure and joint programs. This post explores the third theme in this series, the evolution of "science projects," which describes how prototype projects that unexpectedly grow in size and scope during development often have difficulty transitioning into a formal acquisition program.

Happy Independence Day from all of us here at the SEI. I'd like to take advantage of this special occasion to keep you apprised of a new technical report from the SEI. It's part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about the latest work of SEI technologists. This report highlights the latest work of SEI technologists in the fields of insider threat. This post includes a listing of the report, authors, and links where the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website.

In our research and acquisition work on commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) programs ranging from relatively simple two-tier data-processing applications to large-scale multi-tier weapons systems , one of the primary problems that we see repeatedly is that requirements engineers tend to focus almost exclusively on functional requirements and largely ignore the so-called nonfunctional requirements, such as data, interface, and quality requirements, as well as technical constraints. Unfortunately, this myopia means that requirements engineers overlook critically important, architecturally-significant, quality requirements that specify minimum acceptable amounts of qualities, such as availability, interoperability, performance, portability, reliability, safety, security, and usability. This blog post is the first in a series that explores the engineering of safety- and security-related requirements.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is increasingly interested in having soldiers carry handheld mobile computing devicesto support their mission needs. Soldiers can use handheld devices to help with various tasks, such as speech and image recognition, natural language processing, decision-making and mission planning. Three challenges, however, present obstacles to achieving these capabilities. The first challenge is that mobile devices offer less computational power than a conventional desktop or server computer. A second challenge is that computation-intensive tasks, such as image recognition or even global positioning system (GPS), take a heavy toll on battery power. The third challenge is dealing with unreliable networks and bandwidth. This post explores our research to overcome these challenges by using cloudlets, which are localized, lightweight servers running one or more virtual machines (VMs) on which soldiers can offload expensive computations from their handheld mobile devices, thereby providing greater processing capacity and helping conserve battery power.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has frequently cited poor cost estimation as one of the reasons for cost overrun problems in acquisition programs. Software is often a major culprit. One study on cost estimation by the Naval Postgraduate School found a 34 percent median value increase of software size over the estimate. Cost overruns lead to painful Congressional scrutiny, and an overrun in one program often cascades and leads to the depletion of funds from others. The challenges encountered in estimating software cost were described in the first postof this two-part series on improving the accuracy of early cost estimates. This post describes new tools and methods we are developing at the SEI to help cost estimation experts get the right information they need into a familiar and usable form for producing high quality cost estimates early in the life cycle.