February 24, 2024


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Barry Boehm, a “Dwelling Legend” in Methods and Software package Engineering, Dies at 87 – USC Viterbi

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Professor Barry Boehm described an period in software program engineering by his seminal function in software program expense estimation and lifecycle modeling. Photograph/John Vidar.

Barry Boehm, a pioneer in the fields of computer system science and software package engineering, died Aug. 20 in Santa Monica. He was 87.

Boehm, who served as a USC distinguished professor of computer system science, industrial and devices engineering and astronautics till his retirement in Might 2022, described an era in application engineering via his seminal perform in software package expense estimation and lifecycle modeling.

Born in 1935, Boehm gained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in mathematics from UCLA. Subsequent numerous influential roles spanning market, government companies, and non-gains, which include positions with the RAND Company, TRW Inc. and DARPA, Boehm joined USC’s school in 1992.

“Barry’s contributions are unable to be measured only by the effect of his suggestions on software package engineering,” said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “Much far more than that, he impacted the lives of his college students and colleagues alike. We have been lucky to get the job done in the presence of a correct big and to get in touch with him our friend.”

Groundbreaking contributions

Boehm’s job is full of contributions to the application and units engineering disciplines, with his afterwards work “centered on transitioning software improvement from a pure artwork into an engineering self-control,” according to a 2014 paper titled On the Shoulders of Giants: A Tribute to Professor Barry Boehm.

A single of his revolutionary contributions was the creation of a software price tag estimation design that remodeled the discipline. In his 1981 reserve, Software Engineering Economics, Boehm defined the Constructive Charge Design (COCOMO).

Boehm’s former student, Neil Siegel, now a USC IBM Professor of Engineering Administration and professor of industrial and programs engineering and personal computer science practice, recollects a tale Boehm shared about COCOMO’s generation.

“The industry of pc science was eternally altered for the good by his function.” Neil Siegel.

“After acquiring bids from important satellite methods in the mid-1970s, the vice-president of TRW Inc. asked Boehm for a credible way to estimate the cost of producing a software program products. And so, he did!” stated Siegel.

The outcome was the very first dependable product that authorized software program engineers and project supervisors to achieve command of tasks that ended up more and more driving agenda, about spending budget, and very low high quality, preserving providers and governing administration companies untold billions of bucks. Extensions to this model remained the gold regular in both of those analysis and sector for a number of a long time.

“Boehm’s creations have had a broad affect on the approaches of software program enhancement, are used actually in the course of the environment, and have fundamentally altered the path used by millions of application progress practitioners,” claimed Siegel. “The area of personal computer science was forever improved for the superior by his perform.”

Revolutionizing software package engineering

In addition to this historical contribution, Boehm revolutionized the computer software engineering landscape through the progress of the spiral software package lifecycle model. This strategy recognized that large, expensive, and intricate tasks require an iterative growth procedure with gradual releases and refinement of a item via each and every stage.

The seminal paper produced a large effect on Neno Medvidovic, chair of the USC Viterbi Section of Personal computer Science, who was a younger researcher at the time of its publication.

“To me personally, Barry was an inspiration, and a single of the first technological articles I read as a university scholar was his 1988 paper describing the spiral design of software advancement,” mentioned Medvidovic

Professor Boehm works with CSSE PhD student Vu Nquyen '10, while Thomas Tan CSSE '11 and LiGuo Huang CSSE '06 watch on. (Photo/Jon Vidar)

Professor Boehm will work with CSSE PhD university student Vu Nquyen ’10, whilst Thomas Tan CSSE ’11 and LiGuo Huang CSSE ’06 enjoy on. (Picture/Jon Vidar)

“That paper was a big cause driving my vocation selection. Barry, of program, did not know this, so when he attempted to recruit me to USC in 1998, I could scarcely believe it. I honestly felt like I was going for walks on clouds.”

To date, the spiral product paper has received just about 8,000 academic citations, and his six rules for appropriately using the spiral design have been utilized for a long time due to the fact.

“His door was generally vast open”

Boehm authored more than 900 publications, like virtually 200 journal articles, 6 textbooks, and hundreds of conference papers in addition to presentations, keynotes, and webinars. His publications have above 70,000 citations listed in Google Scholar, and Springer analysis lists him as the next most cited program engineer in the globe.

But further than his prolific publishing, substantial know-how and cerebral prowess, Boehm was regarded as an affable, energetic and respectful colleague, mentor and close friend.

With his passing, our section missing a person of its most distinguished users, and the discipline of computing dropped a giant.” Shang-Hua Teng.

“When he was in his office environment, his door was normally large open up, and I am happy that I took the option to wander in and discuss to him just about every time I handed by,” explained his colleague Shang-Hua Teng, a University Professor and Seeley G. Mudd Professor of Computer Science and Arithmetic. “From these interactions with Barry, I learned a whole lot about his insights on computing and his knowledge about existence.”

In celebration of his achievements in the discipline, in 2007, the Worldwide Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) held an party entitled “Software program Engineering: The Legacy of Barry W. Boehm,” which bundled shows summarizing his contributions and their effects on the investigate and observe of software package engineering.

Organizers pointed out that, “Not quite a few people…have persistently produced considerable contributions over a 40-12 months time period of time and gained respect throughout academia, industry, and federal government audiences.”

Teng agrees with this sentiment, adding, “[Boehm’s] do the job in applying mathematical economics theories to software package engineering led to a principled framework that has had a huge and profound influence on computing. With his passing, our office dropped 1 of its most outstanding associates, and the subject of computing lost a huge.”

An enduring legacy

Amongst his a lot of accolades and achievements, Boehm gained the SERC Founders Award in 2018 and the INCOSE Pioneer Award in 2019 “for his perform as a methods pioneer uniquely contributing to the improvement of systems engineering through substantial investigation, education and learning and the application thereof in market.”

He was fellow of the International Council on Techniques Engineering (INCOSE), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), and the IEEE, and was elected as a member of the Nationwide Academy of Engineering in 1996.

In addition to his exploration, Boehm was equally devoted to his college students. In accordance to Jo Ann Lane et. al, more than 30 doctoral students at USC have founded their possess intellectual pursuits by constructing on Boehm’s study. He transferred to emeritus position in May possibly 2022 to devote far more time with his beloved spouse, Sharla, acquiring served as a professor at USC for three a long time.

“The phrase ‘living legend’ is overused, but I had the fortune of functioning upcoming to a real a person for almost 25 several years,” mentioned Medvidovic. “Barry defined an era in software engineering, and I sense lucky to have recognized him.”

Published on September 1st, 2022

Past updated on September 1st, 2022

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