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Lessons From the Fifty-Year Quest to Turn Programmers into Software Engineers
The term “software engineering” was first used in the title of a 1968 conference organized by NATO, at which academics and industry professionals met and agreed that software needed more engineering focus. A follow-up conference a year later, attempting to solve the problem, instead highlighted the gap between industry and academia. This split has widened in the intervening years, and software continues to lack the experimental basis of other engineering disciplines. Instead there has been a succession of what Fred Brooks called “silver bullets,” such as object-oriented programming and agile—attempts to find one single technique to address the complexity of software development. This talk will discuss the history of the industry/academia split, the attempts to solve the problem, and how modern software techniques, while still lacking the silver bullet, are finally making progress.


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