The Center for National Software Studies has issued a report on the 2nd National Software Summit (May 10-12, 2004), entitled SOFTWARE 2015: A National Software Strategy to Ensure U.S. Security and Competitiveness.
With the nation now in the early years of the twenty-first century, it is fair to say that we have become exceptionally dependent on information systems technology, and the linchpin of that technology is clearly software. For all of the many advantages and enormous benefits that information technology has brought and continues to bring us, it has also subjected us to increasing risks that demand attention at the highest levels of government, industry, and academia.
Indeed, the state of software today exposes the nation to risks in several key areas, such as:
• Risk of critical infrastructure failures
• Risk of sudden and severe economic loss
• Risk of loss of life and limb
• Risk of loss of public confidence
• Risk of loss of our technological edge and leadership
To bring these risks into clearer focus we need only remember a few major incidents: the general collapse of a major portion of the long distance telephone network traced to inadequate design of the underlying software; the enormous disruption of business and government on multiple occasions due to computer viruses and worms, all exploiting defects in software; and software deficiencies that have allowed medical equipment to release fatal doses of radiation during routine usage. As if to add emphasis to the point, an airline’s entire fleet was recently grounded and thousands of passengers were stranded over the 2004 holiday season thanks to a relatively simple software bug involving the overflow of a counter.
With this as background, over 80 senior executives and thought leaders convened in Washington in 2004 at the 2nd National Software Summit (NSS2) to assess where the nation is today with regard to software and the progress that has been made in the past 30 years since the Department of Defense declared that it faced a software crisis. The conclusion of the summit participants was two-fold. First, enormous progress has definitely been made on many fronts in combating the problems associated with software. Significant advances have been made and continue to be made in software technology, tools and practices. That was the good news. The bad news is that in the same period of time, the growth in pervasiveness and complexity of software has significantly outpaced
The vision for this strategy includes two mutually supporting and complementary goals: Achieving the ability to routinely develop and deploy trustworthy software systems, while ensuring the continued competitiveness of the U.S. software industry.
The proposed National Software Strategy is intended to spearhead a ten-year national effort designed to bring this vision to reality by 2015. The strategy includes four major programs with the themes listed below, each consisting of one or more initiatives which are further detailed in the report.
• Improving Software Trustworthiness
• Educating and Fielding the Software Workforce
• Re-Energizing Software Research and Development
• Encouraging Innovation Within the U.S. Software Industry...