More sustainable software development needed2019-04-26
At his inaugural lecture as associate professor on 5 April, Sebastian Herold described his software development research and the challenges faced in this area.
“When you build a house you have a plan and the builders follow acknowledged building practices. This is less standardized in software engineering,” says Sebastian Herold, the latest associate professor in Computer Science. “Software engineering is a young discipline with many different methods, and programmers often use their own models. Many programmers spend half their working hours on understanding the systems they work with, and this is unacceptable. It must be possible to build and evolve software systems and working with them more sustainable.”
What makes software development unsustainable and how can these factors be avoided? Which methods and tools can support programmers? These are two of the overarching questions that Sebastian Herold’s research focuses on.
Maintenance is expensive
Shortly after a software system is implemented it starts degrading. This is frequently because programmers do not keep to the original plan when coding to maintain, fix bugs and develop the system so that it meets market expectations. Maintenance is expensive; 60–90% of development costs accrue after a software system is implemented.
“Architectural degradation is a large expense. We can measure it, but we still do not fully understand the underlying causes. We have to understand these causes if we are to develop better tools that can quantify the effects, for instance to estimate costs,” says Sebastian Herold.
“The need for effective and sustainable software development will increase rather than decrease, and therefore we need to develop methods and techniques that enable simpler maintenance and development and save the programmers’ time and the companies’ money.”
Sebastian Herold has been associate professor of Computer Science since December 2018. He obtained his doctorate from Clausthal University of Technology in Germany in 2011. Afterwards he continued to do research at the same university for a few years before joining Lero - The Irish Software Research Centre. In 2015 he was appointed a senior lecturer at Karlstad University.
What does it mean to be associate professor?
The Swedish title of associate professor (docent) is more or less the equivalent to four years’ full-time research after completing a doctorate. Bearers of the title may teach and supervise university students at all levels and can be members of the examination committee at the public defence of a doctoral thesis.