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Ozkaya Explores Generative AI in Software Architecture During International Conference Keynote

Ozkaya Explores Generative AI in Software Architecture During International Conference Keynote

July 2, 2024—The effects of narrowly scoped uses for generative artificial intelligence (AI) in software engineering could ripple throughout the development process, which will place more responsibility on software architects. That is the message the Software Engineering Institute’s Ipek Ozkaya delivered last month in the keynote address “Beyond Automation: Human-AI Partnership and Redefining Roles in Software Architecture” at the 2024 IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA).

ICSA provides a venue for software architecture researchers and practitioners to explore challenges and advance software architecture techniques and practices. SEI researchers have been involved since cofounding the predecessor working conference in 1999. ICSA 2024, held in June at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad, India, featured more than 80 sessions and three keynote presentations.

Ozkaya said that because software architecture represents design decisions for systems’ end-to-end structure and behavior, it provides a perspective broad enough to envision the downstream impacts of any new tools or methods, including generative AI. “For example, how would you scale the recommendations produced by generative AI tools consistently across the code base? How do you make sure that a particular change doesn’t propagate to the rest of the system unintentionally? How do you take advantage of existing design knowledge to improve the fitness of the recommendations generated?” Ozkaya said. “Software architecture practitioners and researchers are well positioned to ask these questions and others as the software engineering community explores how to integrate generative AI tools into their workflows.”

Applying the latest technology and techniques to system development and design with a software architecture perspective has been Ozkaya’s main area of study for nearly two decades at the SEI. She is a principal researcher in the institute’s Software Solutions Division and leads the Engineering Intelligent Software Systems team, which researches and develops principles and practices for software architecture design analysis and automation, including the application of AI to software architecture design and analysis problems; technical debt management; and engineering tactical and AI-enabled systems.

The SEI is the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) only federally funded research and development center devoted to software. Ozkaya and other SEI researchers bring to ICSA experience with legacy, large-scale, and long-lived software systems typical within the DoD and industry. “You need to think about the architecture of the system not only for today, but how well it is going to support the system for sometimes decades to come,” Ozkaya said.

The SEI’s position as a connector between government, industry, and academia allows Ozkaya and her colleagues to bring that uncommon long view to important challenges discussed at venues like ICSA. They can also gather and test ideas from all three communities. “We try out things that might fail, and we bring our lessons learned and successes back to our stakeholders, including researchers,” said Ozkaya.

Giving a keynote presentation at ICSA 2024 is another in Ozkaya’s long list of professional accomplishments. Ozkaya has authored or co-authored dozens of technical papers and articles, is a frequent contributor to the SEI’s blog and podcast series, and co-authored the 2019 book Managing Technical Debt: Reducing Friction in Software Development.

“Conferences like ICSA facilitate the exchange of ideas, research findings, and practical experiences between researchers and practitioners,” said Y. Raghu Reddy, head of the Software Engineering Center at IIIT Hyderabad and general co-chair of ICSA 2024. “The SEI does a lot of seminal work in applied research, especially in software architecture. Ipek is well versed with industry as well as academia and is considered an expert in this area. Her keynote resonated well with the participants.”

“Keynoting at ICSA is of course a huge honor, but it also represents things that are important to me, my team, and the SEI,” said Ozkaya. “No matter what technology comes up, it’s important to think about the technology in the context of overall longevity, business and mission goals, quality, and end-to-end behavior of a software system, not just incorporating that technology through a particular functionality. Software architecture is fundamental in accomplishing this.”

Learn more about Ozkaya’s publications, blogs, and podcasts in the SEI’s Digital Library. Discover more about the SEI’s software architecture research and development on our website.