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Findings And Recommendations

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters.

Via the publicly funded National Academies mailing list, I found out that the book “Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense was available for free pdf download. Despite being committee written, the book is chock full of good “findings” and “recommendations” that are not only applicable to the DoD, but to laggard commercial companies as well.

Not surprisingly, because of the exponentially growing size of software-centric systems and the need for interoperability, “architecture” plays a prominent role in the book. Here are some of my favorite committee findings and recommendations:

Finding 3-1: Industry leaders attend to software architecture as a first-order decision, and many follow a product-line strategy based on commitment to the most essential common software architectural elements and ecosystem structures.

Finding 3-2: The technology for definition and management of software architecture is sufficiently mature, with widespread adoption in industry. These approaches are ready for adoption by the DoD, assuming that a framework of incentives can be created in acquisition and development efforts.

Recommendation 3-2: This committee reiterates the past Defense Science Board recommendations that the DoD follow an architecture driven acquisition strategy, and, where appropriate, use the software architecture as the basis for a product-line approach and for larger-scale systems potentially involving multiple lead contractors.

The DoD funded Software Engineering Institute, located at Carnegie Mellon University, has produced a lot of good work on software product lines. Jan Bosch’s “Design and Use of Software Architectures: Adopting and Evolving a Product-Line Approach” and Chapters 14 and 15 in Bass, Clements, and Kazman’s “Software Architecture in Practice” are excellent sources of information. The stunning case study of Celsius Tech really drove the point home for me.

  1. July 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    It is so comforting to know that our federal government has a the National Academy of Sciences to advise the it on scientific and technical matters. This is such a great support to that part of the preamble to the Constitution that says to “promote the general welfare.”

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