Vol. 12 No. 10 – October 2014

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The Responsive Enterprise: Embracing the Hacker Way

Soon every company will be a software company.

As of July 2014, Facebook, founded in 2004, is in the top 20 of the most valuable companies in the S&P 500, putting the 10-year-old software company in the same league as IBM, Oracle, and Coca-Cola. Of the top five fastest-growing companies with regard to market capitalization in 2014 (table 1), three are software companies: Apple, Google, and Microsoft (in fact, one could argue that Intel is also driven by software, making it four out of five).

by Erik Meijer, Vikram Kapoor

There's No Such Thing as a General-purpose Processor

And the belief in such a device is harmful

There is an increasing trend in computer architecture to categorize processors and accelerators as "general purpose." Of the papers published at this year's International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA 2014), nine out of 45 explicitly referred to general-purpose processors; one additionally referred to general-purpose FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays), and another referred to general-purpose MIMD (multiple instruction, multiple data) supercomputers, stretching the definition to the breaking point. This article presents the argument that there is no such thing as a truly general-purpose processor and that the belief in such a device is harmful.

by David Chisnall

A New Software Engineering

What happened to the promise of rigorous, disciplined, professional practices for software development?

What happened to software engineering? What happened to the promise of rigorous, disciplined, professional practices for software development, like those observed in other engineering disciplines? What has been adopted under the rubric of "software engineering" is a set of practices largely adapted from other engineering disciplines: project management, design and blueprinting, process control, and so forth. The basic analogy was to treat software as a manufactured product, with all the real "engineering" going on upstream of that - in requirements analysis, design, modeling, etc.

by Ivar Jacobson, Ed Seidewitz