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Programming-in-the-Many: A Software Engineering Paradigm for the 21st Century
Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center 338
Computer Science Department
University of Southern California
Over the past several decades software researchers and practitioners have proposed various approaches, techniques, and tools for developing large-scale software systems. The results of these efforts have been characterized as programming-in-the-large (PitL). A new set of challenges has arisen with the emergence of inexpensive, small, heterogeneous, resource-constrained, possibly embedded, highly-distributed, and highly-mobile computing platforms. We refer to software development in this new setting as programming-in-the-many (PitM). This paper argues for a concerted research effort needed to address the challenges of PitM. As “proof-of-concept” we highlight the results of a research project we have conducted in this area over the past two years. While the details of our work may not be universally applicable, we believe that our approach suggests a plausible software engineering research agenda for the future. The centerpiece of our approach is a software architectural style with explicit support for the needs of PitM applications: self-awareness, distribution, heterogeneity, dynamism, mobility, and disconnected operation. The style is accompanied by a set of implementation, deployment, and runtime evolution tools targeted to a variety of traditional (i.e., desktop) and mobile computing platforms. Our approach has been successfully applied on several applications. While a number of issues pertaining to PitM remain areas of future work, our experience to date has been very positive.
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