On the Diminishing Prospects for an Engineering Discipline of Requirements

Speaker:  James D Herbsleb – Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Topic(s):  Human Computer Interaction


What do the following have in common? (1) describing the computation an electronic control unit should perform as it detects rotational speed from wheel speed sensors and adjusts hydraulic valves in order to prevent a car from skidding, (2) describing how access to data should be controlled in a hospital information system that maintains patient records and supports workflow, (3) describing the intended functionality of a unified messaging system for pre-teens, that will let them IM, twitter, e-mail and blog, respecting their privacy but providing an appropriate degree of parental control. To ask the right questions, gather the right information, end express an appropriate solution, one needs some expertise in automotive engineering, medical privacy concerns and regulations, and the delicate balance of freedom and control for adolescents. Other than the possibility that these problems might end up on the task queue of a requirements engineer, it is a bit hard to imagine a single set of engineering principles or a single engineering approach that could inform them all. While my failure to imagine does not demonstrate impossibility, the point is that there are important forces at work here that may imply gathering clouds on the horizon of an engineering discipline of requirements. At an accelerating pace, more and more of life -- work, play, sociality, commerce -- is enacted through computers. What tools does it take to capture and express what we require of computers now and in the future, as our interactions with computing systems become ever more pervasive and intimate?

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  30
Duration:  45 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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