Hi Ed and Len (01)
Just for reference, while I agree that there is a lot of quackery
around, like in many other fields, but there are some extremely well
articulated and structured methodologies
for Knowledge Engineering, and Sof Eng (02)
I can swear by (03)
'Knowledge Analsyis and Design' KADS,
and SSADM (structured analysis and design methodology). (05)
There is no doubt that both the above practices are 'engineering' as
defined by the he American Engineers' Council for Professional
Development, if thats the book you like to go by. (06)
Paola DM (07)
> Well, I agree that "software engineering", as currently practiced by
> most software engineers, isn't engineering. But the above is not
> helpful. It only encourages the nonsense of "computer science" and
> "automated software design".
> Software engineering is about the design of a machine, a system, and you
> can no more completely characterize the behavior of a software machine
> than you can a complex mechanical device. You can completely
> characterize the behavior of small parts and you can approximate the
> system behavior with analytical models and simulations and empirical
> measurements, in both cases. The difference is that mechanical
> engineers do; and "software engineers" could, but don't.
> There is no calculus for programs and there is no calculus for engine
> designs. There are methods for evaluating engine designs, and there are
> methods for evaluating software designs.
> But "computer science" uses semantics and logic, relational algebra,
> numerical methods, mathematical programming, and simple machine theory,
> which seems to me to be a fairly strong theoretical basis -- it just
> ain't physics. And it isn't yet clear how it provides more than a basis
> for methods for solving specific kinds of sub-problems.
> And no engineering discipline has a theory, or even a clear and accepted
> discipline for "systems engineering" -- breaking the real problem down
> into solvable parts and rebuilding a functional whole from the part
> solutions. There is coming to be an established practice for that, but
> it is very recent. 30 years ago, it was a "black art", and the
> expertise was hidden inside the companies that built big systems --
> ships, aircraft, automobiles -- because it was part of the corporate
> business advantage. But software engineers have been forced to solve
> similar problems for over 20 years, and most of what was called
> "software engineering" in the literature was about dealing with "systems
> engineering" problems.
>> all other "creativity" in software industry has not yet reached
>> the level of engineering, despite considerable wealth created,
>> which is not a proof of soundness (at least to me).
> Engineering is about applying theory, knowledge, observations,
> principles and method. I agree that the software industry as a whole
> has not yet reached the level of "engineering", but IMO, the problem is
> the failure to abide by established principles and the failure to
> practice method.
> We don't teach "computer scientists" to be engineers; and we the
> employers don't require them to be. We treat them like artisans and
> they behave like artisans. But the first step in fixing this is to
> teach them engineering discipline and enforce it in the workplace.
> Unlike Len, I think emphasizing "theory" muddles that message.
> Edward J. Barkmeyer Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
> National Institute of Standards & Technology
> Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
> 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263 Tel: +1 301-975-3528
> Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263 FAX: +1 301-975-4694
> "The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
> and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."
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Paola Di Maio
School of IT
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