Fourth Annual SATURN Workshop Attracts International Software Architecture Practitioners

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Fourth Annual SATURN Workshop
Attracts International Software Architecture Practitioners


Pittsburgh, PA, June 6, 2008 – "Over the last 15 years, the SEI has become a sort of mecca for software architecture—a place where anyone who is doing any work related to software architecture must go."

With those words, keynote speaker Philippe Kruchten spoke to the importance and influence the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has had in the world of software architecture at the Fourth Annual SEI Software Architecture Technology User Network (SATURN) Workshop held April 30 – May 1, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

SATURN was launched four years ago as a place for software architects worldwide to exchange best practices in developing and acquiring software architectures and using them to build predictable, high-quality systems. Now, the SATURN Workshop has grown into an important destination for professionals to share how they successfully put SEI and other architecture technologies into practice. This year's workshop boasted keynotes, presentations, and tutorials from leading experts in the field of software architecture and people from over 50 companies from the United Kingdom, Canada, Thailand, South Korea, Argentina, India, Brazil, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Japan, and the U.S attended this annual event.

According to Linda Northrop, director of the SEI's Product Line Systems Program and host of the SATURN Workshop, "It is vital for the SEI to interact with software architects and for them to learn from each other how SEI technologies can have an effect in the real world. SATURN offers a yearly gathering where that can take place. It's becoming a worldwide network of software architects."

Kruchten, now a professor of software engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, focused his talk on the relationship of system cost and value and software architecture. "By exploiting the richness of the SEI Cost Benefit Analysis Method, agile projects can be reconciled with Big Up-Front Design—something that many see as being pure evil." Kruchten went on to say that what architects need is a strategy for clarifying the cost and value of architectural design and implementation that can help reconcile an agile approach to software development.

SATURN session leaders and participants discussed and identified the benefits and challenges in embracing architecture-centric evolution as a software development life cycle approach. "Many systems are built to be in service over a long period of time," said presenter Robert Nord, a senior member of the technical staff at the SEI. "Market, social, economic, political, and technological forces exert pressures for a system to change but these forces are hard to anticipate. We believe that a system's architecture provides considerable leverage for reasoning about planning for system evolution."

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) was featured in a tutorial session led by the SEI's Paulo Merson and Phil Bianco, and Rick Kotermanski of Summa Technologies. Merson, Bianco, and Kotermanski discussed how the SEI Architecture Tradeoff Analysis Method® (ATAM®) is used as a reference for the steps, inputs, and outputs of an architecture evaluation technique. "We wanted to provide attendees practical information for the architecture evaluation of SOA systems using the ATAM," said Merson.

While many practitioners have the title of "architect," their actual job can vary widely, according to keynote speaker, Eoin Woods, coauthor of the book titled Software Systems Architecture: Working with Stakeholders Using Viewpoints and Perspectives and software and enterprise architect at Barclays Global Investors. He described the confusion that lies in the diverse job titles that architects hold. "You quickly realize that not everyone with the title of software architect can be doing the same job," Woods said. "Understanding the work that people are really doing—regardless of their job titles—can lead to more effective communication and collaboration between practitioners and researchers. And that, in the end, leads to improved software architecture practice."

Other highlights of sessions included:

  • evaluating software and system architectures
  • designing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions using open source software
  • bridging the communication gap between managers and architects
  • the SEI PACC Starter Kit
New this year was the co-location of two courses in the SEI Software Architecture Curriculum: Software Architecture: Principles and Practices and Documenting Software Architectures. These courses gave those new to software architecture a chance to get up to speed on software architecture concepts and SEI practices before attending SATURN.

Kruchten summed up SATURN this way, "It gives you the chance to meet all the great software architecture gurus and writers, the authors of innovative SEI methods, and some of the key users of that technology."

Planning for SATURN 2009, scheduled for spring 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pa is now underway. To see a recap of SATURN 2008 and to find out details about SATURN 2009 as they're released, visit www.sei.cmu.edu/architecture/saturn.


About the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development center operated by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI helps organizations make measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering. For more information, visit the SEI Web site at http://www.sei.cmu.edu.

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