Grady Booch, “Software archaeology”, ACM OOPSLA, 2008/09/20

For most people in the modern industrial world, computer software is an everyday thing.  In the grand scheme, though, software has been a relatively new advent.

As chief scientist for software engineering at IBM Research, Grady Booch has taken the ambitious and important task of chronicling and recording software architectures to make them available for future generations.

Grady argues that while software, in a relatively short span of time, has changed the world for the better, we have little lasting detail information of the software of the past. For instance, does the Lotus division of IBM still has the details on the architecture and source code for the original 123 spreadsheet software? The same questions could be asked of many important other software, e.g., Windows, Word, Linux, Mac OS, Acrobat, Mosaic, LaTeX, and so on.

Grady relates this quest for documenting software architectures with archeological digging, such as the ones done in Egypt to learn about the technologies, science, and thoughts of past civilizations. He also introduces one of the this year’s OOPSLA keynote, Mark Lehner, an Egyptologist by training who will discuss his craft and what computer scientists and engineers can learn from archeology.

Finally, Grady gives advices and shares insights with junior engineers and scientists on what has made his career so prolific and successful. He talks about his many many books and what subjects he chooses to read next as he and his wife increase their personal library.

OOPSLA Podcast

MP3 audio

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David Ing blogs at http://coevolving.com , photoblogs at http://daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . See .

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