Saturday, 18 September 2010

Tom Gilb Keynote

I attended the Keynote Presentation by Tom Gilb at the International Workshop on Requirements Analysis (IWRA 2010) at Middlesex University. Tom's Keynote, entitled What's Wrong with Requirements Methods included many examples of software projects with scarily large budgets where the requirements were vague and focus on software form and function rather than concrete measurable business drivers. He offered a definition of Requirement: Stakeholder Valued End-State and associated decomposition onto a hierarchy of requirement-types that is intended to be more useful than the ubiquitous functional and non-functional categories of requirements. Tom's recent work includes the requirements engineering language Planguage and the associated book Competitive Engineering.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Exam Howlers

This week the Times Higher Education magazine published some US responses to UK Exam Howlers. A personal favourite from the UK:
[A tutor] was asked for a reference via the following message: "Will you please be a referee for a job for which I am appalling?"
And from the US:
[A] lecturer cited a student's scathing observtion that "Prof seems to think that he knows more than the students."
Reminds me of an eminent UK Professor who recalled a student's query during a lecture:
"Sir, are you making all this stuff up?"

Saturday, 4 September 2010

IEEE Software Special Issue: Multiparadigm Programming

Dean Wampler and I have guest edited the recent issue of IEEE Software on Multiparadigm Programming. From the guest editors' introduction:

Programming languages, frameworks, and platforms require the developer to use a collection of provided programming features—abstractions—to express data, implement desired calculations, interact with other technologies, create user interfaces, and so on. A collection of coherent, often ideologically or theoretically based abstractions constitutes a programming paradigm. Often, a given programming technology is based on one particular paradigm.
Well-known examples include object-oriented, relational, functional, constraint-based, theorem-proving, concurrent, imperative, and declarative. Less well-known (or perhaps less well-defined) examples include graphical, reflective, context-aware, rule-based, and agent-oriented.
A particular paradigm leads to a specific type of implementation style and is best suited to certain types of applications. Relational programming benefits information-rich applications, whereas imperative programming is commonly used to control hardware. But today's applications are seldom homogeneous. They are frequently complex systems, made up of many subcomponents that require a mixture of technologies. Thus, using just one language technology and paradigm is becoming much less common, replaced by multiparadigm programming in which the heterogeneous application consists of several subcomponents, each implemented with an appropriate paradigm and able to communicate with other subcomponents implemented with a different paradigm. When more than one language is used, we call this polyglot ("many tongues") programming.