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Situation analytics — at the dawn of a new software engineering paradigm

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Abstract

In this paper, I first review the seminal work by Thomas Kuhn — The Structure of Scientific Revolutions — and elaborate my view on paradigm shifts in software engineering research and practice as it turns 50 years old in 2018. I then examine major undertakings of the computing profession since early days of modern computing, especially those done by the software engineering community as a whole. I also enumerate anomalies and crises that occurred at various stages, and the attempts to provide solutions by the software engineering professionals in the past five decades. After providing such a background, I direct readers’ attention toward emerging anomalies in software engineering, at a severity level that is causing another software engineering crisis, and suggest a set of criteria for feasible solutions. The main theme of this paper is to advocate that situation analytics, equipped with necessary definitions of essential concepts including situation and intention as parts of a new computational framework, can serve as the foundation for a new software engineering paradigm named the Situation-Centric Paradigm. In this framework, situation is considered a new abstraction for computing and is clearly differentiated from the widely accepted existing abstractions, namely function and object. I argue that the software engineering professionals will inevitably move into this new paradigm, willingly or unwillingly, to empower Human-Embedded Computing (HEC) and End-User Embedded Computing (EUEC), much more than what they have done with traditional humancentered or user-centric computing altogether. In the end, I speculate that an ultimate agile method may be on the rise, and challenge readers to contemplate “what if” hundreds of thousands “end-user developers” emerge into the scene where the boundaries between end users and developers become much more blurred.

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Acknowledgements

This paper was partially supported by 111 Intelligence Base of High Confidence Software Technologies.

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Correspondence to Carl K. Chang.

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† Invited Paper.

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Chang, C.K. Situation analytics — at the dawn of a new software engineering paradigm. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 61, 050101 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-017-9372-7

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Keywords

  • ultimate agile method
  • context
  • intention
  • Internet of things
  • paradigm
  • situation
  • software engineering
  • human-embedded computing