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SATURN 2016 Draws Record Attendance


May 17, 2016—The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) hosted its twelfth annual SEI Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) Conference on May 2 through May 5 in San Diego, California. The conference attracted the highest attendance in the history of the event, drawing attendees from 20 countries and 126 organizations. Participants shared ideas, insights, and experiences about effective software architecture practices for developing and maintaining software-intensive systems.

The conference opened with three one-day SEI courses on service-oriented architecture, technical debt, and DevOps. The technical program spanned three days and included keynote addresses by IBM Fellow Grady Booch, co-developer of the unified modeling language; Daniel Jackson of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; and Joseph Salvo of GE Global Research and Industrial Internet Consortium.

This year’s technical program featured a track dedicated to the architecture of the Internet of Things (IoT). Speakers in this track offered insights on IoT in the oil and gas industry; the development by Bosch of an architectural framework for the consumer-space IoT; GE’s experience building the industrial Internet platform Predix; IoT reference architectures; the need for interoperable data and metadata models, formats, and communication protocols for the IoT; and the IBM Watson IoT platform. In addition to IoT, the technical program covered a wide range of software architecture topics, including

  • Agile development
  • Application security
  • Big data
  • Continuous architecture
  • DevOps
  • Enterprise architecture
  • Ethics
  • Flow mapping
  • Microservices
  • Model-minded development
  • Service-oriented architecture

“I believe that one of SATURN’s greatest strengths is a focus on architectural thinking, through the application of the latest tools,” said Patrick Kua on his blog. Kua, one of the invited speakers for SATURN 2016, is a technical principal consultant for ThoughtWorks. “Unlike some other conferences, I felt like the program tried to assemble a good collection of experience reports and presentations that emphasized the architectural principles, rather than focusing on the current tools.”

Other attendees were equally enthusiastic. “Every hour of the flight to San Diego from Lagos was worth it,” said Kaine Ugwu, solutions architect for the Nigerian e-commerce company, Konga. “I hope to be in Denver next year.”

Also notable at this year’s conference was the inaugural presentation of the Linda Northrop Software Architecture Award. Named in honor of SEI Fellow Linda Northrop, founder of the SATURN conference, the award for 2016 went to Eltjo Poort for his work on the Risk- and Cost-Driven Architecture (RCDA) approach. 

Continuing a practice begun in 2010, the SEI and IEEE conferred two attendee-selected awards at SATURN. The IEEE Software SATURN Architecture in Practice Presentation Award is given to the presentation that best describes experiences, methods, and lessons learned from the implementation of software architecture practices. This year’s award winner was Patrick Kua for his presentation titled “Evolutionary Architecture.” The second award, the IEEE Software SATURN New Directions Presentation Award, is given to the presentation that best describes innovative new approaches and thought leadership in the application of software architecture practices. This year’s award winner was João de Sousa of Robert Bosch LLC for his presentation titled “Going Bezirk: Things Plus Cloud Do Not Equal IoT.” 

“This was the first time I’ve been to SATURN for a long time and I’m very glad I made the trip,” wrote Eoin Woods for his website, Artechra. Woods, an invited speaker for SATURN 2016, is CTO at Endava, the European IT services company. “[SATURN 2016] was terrifically well organized by Michele Falce and the SEI team and ran very smoothly,” said Woods. “Bill Pollak as general chair and Jørn Ølmheim and Amine Chigani as technical co-chairs did a terrific job and produced a rich and varied program. Beyond the formal program, the hallway conversations allowed me to catch up with many people I’d not seen for quite a while and meet new people too.”

Major sponsors of SATURN 2016 included AltSource, GE Digital, Travelers, IBM Watston, HealthEquity, and Statoil. 

SATURN 2017 will be held in Denver, Colorado, May 1-4, 2017.

For more information about SATURN 2015, and to download conference presentations, please visit the SATURN 2016 website.