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Linda Northrop

SEI Fellow, Office of the CTO

Linda Northrop has more than 45 years of experience in the software development field as a practitioner, researcher, manager, consultant, and educator. She retired from full-time employment at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in 2015 and currently works part-time for the CTO on strategic technical activities.

During her tenure at the SEI, she held a number of leadership positions, including chief scientist of the Software Solutions Division and director of the Research, Technology, and System Solutions Program. She led a cross-disciplinary research group on ultra-large-scale systems that resulted in the book Ultra-Large-Scale Systems: The Software Challenge of the Future, which motivated research at the SEI and around the world.

Under her leadership, the SEI developed software architecture and product line methods that are used worldwide, a series of five highly acclaimed books, and software architecture and software product line curricula that include 11 courses and 6 certificate programs.

Before joining the SEI, Northrop was associated with both the U.S. Air Force Academy and the State University of New York as a professor of computer science, and with both Eastman Kodak and IBM as a software engineer. She is a frequently invited speaker and has given keynotes at conferences such as the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), OOPSLA/SPLASH, and the International Conference on Globalized Software Engineering (ICGSE); industry conferences at such companies as Siemens, Bosch, Intuit, and Boeing; and distinguished lectures at academic institutions such as Oxford University, St. Andrews University, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Northrop is coauthor of Software Product Lines: Practices and Patterns. She initiated the International Software Product Line Conference (SPLC), the SATURN Conference, and the SEI Software Architecture Educators’ Workshop (now called the SEI Software Engineering Workshop for Educators), and was instrumental in establishing the International Workshop on Software Architecture (WICSA).

Northrop has served on countless conference and program committees and is currently on the Lero Advisory Board, the ICSE 2016 Program Committee, SPLC 2016 Program Committee, and ACM Distinguished Member Selection Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children.

She is an ACM Distinguished Member and an SEI Fellow. She is a recipient of the Carnegie Science Award of Excellence for Information Technology, the ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award, the New York State Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, the IEEE Computer Society TCSE Software Engineering Service Award, and the SPLC Lifetime Achievement Award.

She completed her undergraduate education at LeMoyne College and her graduate education at the State University College of New York at Brockport, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Rochester.

Recent and significant publications include the following:

Noted presentations include the following:

  • “Reflections on Software Product Lines,” SPLC 2015
  • “Trends and New Directions in Software Architecture,” Grace Hopper Conference 2014
  • “Does Scale Really Matter? Ultra-Large-Scale Systems Seven Years After the Study,” ICSE 2013
  • Scale Changes Everything, 2006 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications
  • Let’s Teach Architecting High-Quality Software, 19th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training (CSEET 2006)
  • Software Product Lines: Reuse That Makes Business Sense, ICSE 2001 Keynote