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Software researcher designs junkyard with a difference

19 March 2009 Bournemouth University

Opportunistic Software Systems Development (OSSD): Making Systems from What’s Available was written by Dr Ncube, BU, Patricia Oberndorf, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University and Anatol W. Kark, National Research Council Canada. It was recently peer reviewed for the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Software Journal. The journal is read by members of the IEEE, of which there are over 365,000 in 150 countries.

The international paper describes the concept of OSSD as:

‘akin to recent television shows in the UK (Scrapheap Challenge) and the US (Junkyard Wars) where competing teams are given a capability they must implement using only what’s available at a junkyard or scrap heap, a set of appropriate tools for integrating the pieces, and their own wits and innovation. OSSD is in some ways the new Junkyard Wars: making new capabilities out of useful software that’s at hand, applying innovative but effective engineering.’

Describing the research paper Dr Ncube said: “It proposes a radical approach to software systems development in which the major emphasis is on smart engineering, creativity, innovation and the most imaginative ways of gluing together seemingly unrelated software pieces to provide interoperable and maintainable systems that meet users’ needs.

“In other words, the Opportunistic Software Systems Development (OSSD) approach is about fabricating hybrid systems by scavenging for pieces of functionality to ‘weld’ together into a composite software system,” continued Dr Ncube.

The work builds on previous research that appeared in earlier issues of the IEEE Software Journal and won the Most Influential Paper Award at the 2008 IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE 08) having been judged as been the most influential Requirements Engineering research in the last ten years. It also forms part of an on-going research work currently being undertaken by Dr Ncube, following his move to BU’s School of Design, Engineering & Computing in August 2007. 

http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/ssrc/

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