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The Latest Research in Software Engineering and Cybersecurity

As part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I would like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI technologists in quantifying expert judgment, insider threat, detecting and preventing data exfiltration, and developing a common vocabulary for malware analysts. This post includes a listing of each report, author(s), and links where the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website.

In 2009, a popular blogger published a post entitled "SOA is Dead," which generated extensive commentary among those who work in the field of service-oriented architecture (SOA). Many practitioners in this field completely misinterpreted the post; some read the title and just assumed that the content referenced the demise of SOA. Quite the opposite, the post was inviting people to stop thinking about SOA as a set of technologies and start embracing SOA as an approach for designing, developing, and managing distributed systems that goes beyond just the technology. Unfortunately, even though SOA is still alive and widely adopted, a belief still persists that SOA can be purchased off the shelf. This post highlights recent research aimed at clarifying this misperception for architects, as well as identifying the elements that constitute a service-oriented system and the relationships between these elements.

In 2009, a popular blogger published a post entitled "SOA is Dead," which generated extensive commentary among those who work in the field of service-oriented architecture (SOA). Many practitioners in this field completely misinterpreted the post; some read the title and just assumed that the content referenced the demise of SOA. Quite the opposite, the post was inviting people to stop thinking about SOA as a set of technologies and start embracing SOA as an approach for designing, developing, and managing distributed systems that goes beyond just the technology.

A widely cited study for the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) reports that inadequate testing methods and tools annually cost the U.S. economy between $22.2 and $59.5 billion, with roughly half of these costs borne by software developers in the form of extra testing and half by software users in the form of failure avoidance and mitigation efforts. The same study notes that between 25 and 90 percent of software development budgets are often spent on testing. This posting, the first in a two-part series, highlights results of an analysis that documents problems that commonly occur during testing. Specifically, this series of posts identifies and describes 77 testing problems organized into 14 categories, lists potential symptoms by which each can be recognized, potential negative consequences, potential causes, and makes recommendations for preventing them or mitigating their effects.

In launching the SEI blog two years ago, one of our top priorities was to advance the scope and impact of SEI research and development projects, while increasing the visibility of the work by SEI technologists who staff these projects. After 114 posts, and 72,608 visits from readers of our blog, this post reflects on some highlights from the last two years and gives our readers a preview of posts to come.

This blog post describes a research initiative aimed at eliminating vulnerabilities resulting from memory management problems in C and C++. Memory problems in C and C++ can lead to serious software vulnerabilities including difficulty fixing bugs, performance impediments, program crashes (including null pointer deference and out-of-memory errors), and remote code execution.

This blog post is the second in a series on Agile adoption in regulated settings, such as the Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, and Food and Drug Administration.

The adoption of new practices, such as agile or any new practice for that matter, is a task that is best undertaken with both eyes open. There are often disconnects between the adopting organization's current practice and culture and the new practices being adopted. This posting is the second installment in a series on Readiness & Fit Analysis (RFA), which is a model and method for understanding risks when contemplating or embarking on the adoption of new practices, in this case agile methods.

When a system fails, engineers too often focus on the physical components, but pay scant attention to the software. In software-reliant systems ignoring or deemphasizing the importance of software failures can be a recipe for disaster. This blog post is the first in a series on recent developments with the Architecture Analysis Design Language (AADL) standard. Future posts will explore recent tools and projects associated with AADL, which provides formal modeling concepts for the description and analysis of application systems architecture in terms of distinct components and their interactions. As this series will demonstrate, the use of AADL helps alleviate mismatched assumptions between the hardware, software, and their interactions that can lead to system failures.