Introduction and Overview
Since the dawn of the computer age, in the 1940s, we have witnessed a prodigious increase in the performance and use of computers. Accompanying this evolution has been a steady shift in emphasis of computer systems development, from hardware—the physical components of the computer—to software—the process of instructing a computer to perform its tasks. Consequently, today only about 10% of the cost of a large computer system lies in the hardware, compared with over 80% in the 1950s. The reasons behind this trend are both the cause and the justification for the emergence of the field of software engineering. In essence, as is true of all mechanical technologies, the cost of hardware gets constantly driven down as new technologies of production come into play, whereas the cost of producing software, which involves harnessing the collective skills of several personnel, gets driven up. Further contributing to these costs are the nuances of delays and budget overruns [Charette (1989), Chapter 1].
KeywordsCoherence Stake Harness Mellon
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