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Distinguished Speakers, Strong Technical Program Set for SATURN 2014


March 10, 2014—The SEI has attracted a stellar lineup of keynote speakers for its 10th annual Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) 2014 conference, which will be held May 5-9 in Portland, Oregon. The speakers complement a rich technical program

Bill Opdyke, who is best known for having done the first in-depth study of code re-factoring as a software engineering technique, will kick off the conference with an opening keynote address. Opdyke serves as architecture lead and vice president at JPMorgan Chase, where he focuses on architectural issues related to web and mobile retail banking. 

Joe Justice, founder of Team WIKISPEED, a volunteer-based, green automotive-prototyping company, will also keynote. Justice, a consultant at Scrum, Inc., TEDx speaker, and coach for agile hardware and manufacturing teams around the world, will explain how Team WIKISPEED prototyped a 100 MPG road car in just three months through object-oriented design, iterative development, and Agile project management. 

Jerome Pesenti, vice president of Watson Core Technology at IBM and co-founder of the search-solutions company Vivisimo, will deliver the closing keynote. IBM Watson technology is well known for its ability to analyze natural-language questions and content well enough and fast enough to compete and win against champion Jeopardy players. Using IBM Watson as a backdrop, Pesenti will discuss how advances in cognitive computing are quickly leading to practical, real-world applications. 

"There is an emerging feeling in the software industry that artificial intelligence (AI) is finally on the brink of its big breakthrough," says Pesenti. "Cognitive computing is about to change our everyday lives. But the industry is facing new challenges. Developing software that relies on natural language and machine learning requires a new methodology. I will describe the new advances in cognitive computing, show that there is substance behind the buzz, and explain the new challenge they bring to software development and architecture." 

These keynote addresses will highlight a compelling technical program for SATURN 2014, with 36 experience reports and participatory sessions designed by 55 international software-architecture experts on themes of technology, methods and tools, and leadership and business. 

"This is a practitioners' conference," said Michael Keeling, managing consultant at IBM and technical program chair for SATURN 2014. "The main focus is on putting software architecture practices into context in the real world. Creating the program schedule for the core conference turned out to be much more challenging than I expected. The biggest problem for me was trying to overcome the impossible task of creating a schedule where I get to see all the talks I want to see! There are just too many amazing presentations. As a conference organizer, I can tell you that this is a great problem to have."

The SATURN 2014 technical program consists of the following components:

  • Courses: Complete one- and two-day classes taught by SEI experts. This year's courses are

  • Software Architecture Design and Analysis
  • Advanced Software Architecture Workshop
  • Big Data: Architectures and Technologies, a new SEI course offered for the first time at SATURN 2014

  • Experience-Report Presentations: Thirty-two 30-minute presentations that describe first-hand experiences or practitioner-focused research.
  • Participatory Sessions: Four 90-minute facilitated workshops that dedicate at least half of their allotted time to hands-on, active-learning activities such as writing code or practicing techniques. "These are smaller in scope than the tutorials SATURN has become known for," says Keeling, "but still substantial enough for participants to not only learn something new but to put it into practice right away." Scheduled participatory sessions include Software Architecture and Design Decay, Rapid Software Architecture Exploration, IT Project Estimation Techniques, and Embracing an Architecture-Focused Approach for Monitoring Technical Debt.
  • Tutorials: One full-day and seven half-day sessions delivered by well-known thought leaders in the software-architecture field. 

The program also includes open space sessions and panel discussions "Open spaces have no set program or agenda," said Keeling. "The idea is that participants will bring what excites them. This can help participants make the conference what they want it to be. I expect this will be a critical part of the learning experience we have at SATURN."

Also critical to the SATURN learning experience is the opportunity for attendees to network with peers and luminaries from the field of software architecture. "A number of software architecture authors, gurus, and thought leaders, as well as software architects and developers from companies big and small, across multiple industries, and from all over the world, are presenting at SATURN this year," Keeling said.

Early-bird registration for SATURN 2014 continues through March 25. To learn more about SATURN 2014 and to register, please visit

To see the full SATURN 2014 technical program, please visit

For a complete list of speakers, please visit