Posts Tagged ‘Celsius Tech’

The SS2000 Epiphany

I’m currently designing/writing the software component of a new air surveillance radar data processor that interfaces the radar to an existing, legacy combat control system. In order to test the software, I have to interact with the combat system’s GUI to issue radar commands and ensure that detected targets are received and displayed properly on the combat system display.


As the figure above shows, the acronym “SS2000” appears prominently on the GUI display. When I saw it for the first time, a sense of deja-vu came over me, but I couldn’t figure out why. After a few days of testing, I experienced an AHA! epiphany. Out of the blue, I suddenly remembered where I saw “SS2000” before. Ding!

Ya see, back in the early 2000’s, I read a Software Engineering Institute (SEI) case study on the concept of “software product lines. It featured a Swedish company called “Celsius Tech“. The report meticulously described how Celsius Tech painfully transformed itself in the 90’s from an expensive developer of one-off naval combat systems into an efficient, low cost, high quality, producer of systems. Instead of starting from scratch on each new system development, Celsius Tech “instantiated” each new system from an in-place, reusable set of product line assets (code and requirements/design/test documentation) that they diligently built upfront.

I was so enamored with Celsius Tech’s technical and financial success with the concept of software product lines that I concocted an executive summary of the report and aggressively pitched it internally to everyone and anybody who would listen. But alas, I utterly failed to jumpstart an internal effort to transform my employer at the time, Sensis Corp., into a software product line enterprise.

The name of Celsius Tech’s software product line infrastructure was…… SS2000 = Ship System 2000! But wait, the story gets eerily better. Celsius Tech was subsequently purchased by Swedish defense company Saab AB (yes, they used to make cars but they sold off that business a long time ago) – the same company that bought my employer, Sensis Corp., in 2011. As a result of the buyout, I currently work for Saab Sensor Systems. Quite the coincidence, no?


Findings And Recommendations

July 22, 2011 1 comment

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.

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