Seminar: Can we Increase Software Development Productivity by an Order of Magnitude

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Speaker: Shayne Flint, Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science (SoCS, ANU)

Date: Thursday, 01 October 2009

Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Venue: CSIT Seminar Room, N101, CSIT Building, Building (108), North Road, ANU (campus map)

Website: Seminars @ CECS

Enquiries: Dr Malcolm Newey

“Demand for software developers is increasing while the number of software engineering and IT students remains stable or in decline. At the same time, there is an increasing need to quickly build software systems in response to rapid social, economic and environmental change. The CECS Software-Intensive Systems Engineering (SiSE) group is addressing these issues by developing novel technology which aims to increase software development productivity by an order of magnitude.

“To achieve this objective we are exploring the use of Model- Driven Engineering (MDE) and ways to improve its effectiveness. Specifically, we are addressing problems in areas such as requirements and stakeholder management; integrating multiple viewpoints, cross-cutting concerns, modelling languages and paradigms; variations in architecture and implementation; model semantics, translation, synchronisation, evolution and reuse; the presence of uncertainty, imperfection and ambiguity; verification, scalability and visualisation. This is a long list, but our research indicates the possibility that many of these problems may be the result of entrenched assumptions that underpin existing approaches to MDE.”

In this seminar Dr Flint will demonstrate a new approach to MDE which is developed from a very different set of assumptions. The approach is proving effective and addresses or eliminates many of the problems with existing approaches. If commercialised, it could have direct and demonstrable economic impact by increasing ICT industry productivity and our ability to rapidly react to emerging opportunities and threats.

This seminar is part of the CECS Seminar Series.

Shayne Flint is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computer Science, Australian National University, and is an active member of the department’s Software-Intensive Systems Engineering group. He started his career as a RAAF engineering officer and has worked in industry in various software/systems engineering, consulting, marketing, management and commercialization roles. Dr Flint has broad industry experience and is the originator of Aspect-Oriented Thinking, a systematic approach to developing, managing and integrating the multi-disciplinary knowledge and expertise required to understand and improve complex systems. Nowadays, he is driven by a desire to radically improve the productivity of software development, particularly within multi-disciplinary contexts such as environmental science and engineering.

Original Seminar Notice at: Can we Increase Software Development Productivity by an Order of Magnitude, CECS Seminar List, The Australian National University, 2009

Seminar: Seeing the World through Indian Foreign Service Eyes – A Blueprint for ‘Diplomatic’ Fieldwork

Greetings from the Coombs Seminar Room A at The Australian National University where India specialist Kate Sullivan is presenting Seeing the World through Indian Foreign Service Eyes — A Blueprint for ‘Diplomatic Fieldwork’ in the study of International Relations (IR).

The talk and topic is particularly interesting to me in that the study readily lends itself to the application of Aspect-Oriented Thinking (a multidisciplinary methodology developed by Dr Shayne Flint) in tackling the integration of the necessary domain knowledge and structure.

In the first part of her talk, Ms Sullivan makes the following interesting points about IR study.

IR is not culturally-neutral: This affects the study of IR theories due to the following factors:

  • Complexity
  • Epistemology
  • Universalist assumptions
  • IR’s ‘debt to the West’

Reforming the discipline of IR study: These issues have been recognized by intellectuals and efforts are underway to reform the discipline, in particular the handling of culture in the context of

  • Foreign Policy Analysis
  • Strategic Studies

IR studies are obviously multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinary in nature, encountering issues which can to a large extent be ameliorated by exploiting interpretive contexts. This work presents interesting cross-cutting concerns with current research across The Australian National University by Ziyad Alshaikh in management of context, suggesting effective use of a Context Dynamics Matrix.

In the second part of her talk, Ms Sullivan visits the debate surrounding the narrative exploration in her research studies, successfully arguing a case for contextualizing the implicit nature of theories and methodologies in asking questions about India’s aspirations to be an institutionally recognized ‘global power’.

Finally, Ms Sullivan outlined the effects various drivers and forces governing Indian foreign policy decisions and their resulting outcomes. She argued that we should look at the context of the narrative concerns at a sufficient level of abstraction and detail and map it to an ethnographic effect. This entails a view of the Indian Foreign Service from a perspective of:

  • Data collection/study/interpretation
  • ‘Emic’ (insider) verus ‘etic’ (outsider) approach
  • Attempt to grasp the making of meaningful social behavior
  • Encourage reflexivity on part of the researcher

These research questions are not too different from the questions I seek to answer in the field of contextual concept workflow management (answering the four canonical questions of who, what, when, why), and the need to explicitize the context-tie-in.

Ms Sullivan also suggested that there is a progressive change in the sensitivity with which India has projected its image abroad and in the international arena. She discussed what makes the study of historical and current ethnographies challenging and how academic research could manage ‘in-the-field’ analysis of individuals who seek to inform public policy in international relations.

Finally, there was some time spent in general discussion and questions on issues affecting studies in International Relations. Points raised recognized the need to resolve cultural forces, challenges in marrying inconsistencies between theoretical and practical approaches and the academic material in the context of this research.

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