USC Center for Software Engineering Presents

Los Angeles

Software Process Improvement Network


Wednesday, February 25, 2004 at 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.


"Software Engineering, Professionalism & Liability"


Speaker:  John Cosgrove P.E. CDP, Cosgrove Computer Systems Inc.


Is the current debate about licensing software engineering among computer science and software engineering professionals being framed correctly?  The ACM has taken a policy position against the concept of licensing as it is being proposed.  The IEEE recently featured an article arguing in favor of licensing based largely on process and cultural issues described as shortcomings in both academia and industry. *  This talk is an adaptation of a lecture that the speaker has given as part of an upper-division course in engineering ethics at UCLA for several years.  It argues that the real issue is professional ethics, reasoning that ethical responsibilities need the formality of explicit qualification standards of education and practice in order to enforce true quality objectives in the face of economic pressures.  It follows that if our profession does not create this licensing framework on its own, the harsh realities of litigation will create one for us.


*  Poore, Jesse H., "A Tale of Three Disciplines … and a Revolution", IEEE Computer, January 2004


John Cosgrove, of Cosgrove Computer Systems Inc., has over forty-five years experience in software engineering and has been a self-employed, consulting engineer in the Los Angeles area since 1970.  He is a charter member of the LA SPIN Steering Committee, a Life Senior Member of the IEEE and member of ACM, NSPE, and American College of Forensic Examiners.  Recently, his consulting business has seen the demand for forensic services increase significantly.  He recently testified before the California Board of Registration for Engineers, arguing that software engineering should be added as an engineering specialty under the professional engineering laws.  Additional publications and background information can be found at .  The talk also references articles in the special issue of Communications of the ACM, 11/2002, "Should Software Engineering be Licensed", and Watts Humphrey’s The Future of Software Engineering, .


*** Recheck the web site before the meeting ***

Location:  University of Southern California - Information Sciences Institute

11th Floor Conference Room, 4676 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA

Map and directions at | Directions


5:30 to 6:00  Networking

7:00 to 7:30  Networking

6:00 to 7:00  Presentation

7:30 to 8:30  Presentation cont’d


No reservations needed.  Free parking in nearby structure, bring ticket to meeting for validation.

For additional information:

LaDonna Pierce, CSE Administrator, at (213) 740-5703 or


* Future Meetings - Save the Dates:  

Mar 31 Manhattan Beach Marriott:  Interpreting CMMI for COTS-Based Systems, Lisa Brownsword and

            Ceci Albert, SEI

Apr 28:  Integrating Software and System Reliability, Myron Hecht

May 26:  Formal Methods Used in Software Verification, Robert T. Bauer

June 30:  XP-For-One, Carlton Nettleton

Save the Dates:  Jul 28, Aug 25, Sep 22, Oct 27, Dec 1