Software Understanding and (Re)engineering Overview

Various software industry estimates that somewhere in the range of $50B-100B a year is allocated to maintaining and evolving existing software systems. As a growing number of these systems ages, in some cases over a period of 20 years or more, and in the presence of increasing pressure to reduce software support expendentures, then businesses, government departments, and agencies face decisions for what to do with their ever expanding legacy of software systems. Most find that their existing systems have not aged so well, as often indicated by inadequate, inconsistent, and out-of-date documentation, as well as the apparent fragility these systems exhibit when software modifications or migrations are attempted. "Architectural drift" is another recurring dilemma that arises with large software systems that were previously considered to be well-engineered, but then are subjected to an onslaught of demands for customer, user, or market-driven enhancements, which in turn are usually implemented by junior coders or new-hires who don't yet perceive the "big picture" view of the system. Added to this, the ongoing pressure to adopt new software development tools and techniques/processes, and to use these technologies in building the current/next generation of application systems, only makes software support strategies and decisions more complex. These are among the challenges we face, and software reengineering, software understanding, and software process reengineering are the primary strategies and technologies we have to transform these challenges into potential product and service opportunities.

Through this workshop, we seek to identify and discuss the technical, managerial, and business challenges associated with software reengineering broadly construed, including software understanding and software process reengineering which represent to emerging research capabilities. We also seek to identify and debate the relative merits of current industry approaches to software reengineering, as well as highlight the similar and different needs that appear in the commercial business sector, in contrast to those in the DoD/aerospace sector. We also seek to identify strategies and variables involved in the estimation/assessment of software reengineering costs and risks. Thus, we encourage your participation in this workshop, and in preparing a brief 2-4 page position paper that characterizes your views or experience in software reengineering, as well as with tools and techniques that you have applied or are investigating.

For further information, contact:

Karen Prouten
Center for Software Engineering
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0781
213-740-5703, 213-740-4927 (fax)
karenp@sunset.usc.edu


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