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Monday, March 21, 2011


Software engineering

Software is the programs and procedures that direct computers to perform useful work. Software applications can be found in every aspect of modern life from life-critical medical-monitoring devices and nuclear power plants to entertainment video-games. Complex software guides space missions while simple software controls microwave ovens.

Many software products contain millions of lines of code that are expected to perform properly in the face of changing conditions.
Software generally needs to be reliable (with the consequences of failure ranging from annoying to deadly) and needs to be produced economically. Software engineering aims to address these needs. Software engineering techniques are intended to improve the functionality and reliability of software, while improving the efficiency and easing the task of software development.
The SE community includes 630,000 practitioners and educators in the U.S. and an estimated 1,400,000 practitioners in the E.U., Asia, and elsewhere; it is about 60% the size of traditional engineering. SE pioneers include Barry Boehm, Fred Brooks, C. A. R. Hoare, and David Parnas. There is extensive debate about what SE is, who qualifies as an SE, who sets the standards, etc.

Software engineering today
Impact of software engineering
Software engineering affects economies and societies in many ways.

In the U.S., software drove about 1/4 of all increase in GDP during the 1990s (about $90 billion per year), and 1/6 of all productivity growth (efficiency within GDP) during the late 1990s (about $33 billion per year).Software engineering drove $1 trillion of economic and productivity growth over the last decade.

Around the world,
software drives economic growth in similar ways, though reliable statistics are hard to find.

Software engineering changes world culture, wherever people use computers. Email, the world-wide web, and instant messaging enable people to interact in new ways. Software lowers the cost and improves the quality of health-care, fire departments, and other important social services.
Successful projects where software engineering methods have been applied include Linux, the space shuttle software, and automatic teller machines. When it is cheaper to run a business or agency with software applications than without, businesses and agencies often invest in computers, software, and personnel.
See also software engineering economics.

Room for improvement
In spite of the enormous economic growth and productivity gains enabled by software, persistent complaints about the quality remain.
Deficient software engineering is often blamed for project failures when the blame might more properly be placed with business managers who ignore lessons already learned by Software Engineers.

See also Debates within software engineering and Criticism of software engineering

People from many different educational backgrounds make important contributions to SE. The fraction of practitioners who earn computer science or software engineering degrees has been slowly rising. Today, about 1/2 of all software engineers earn computer science or software engineering degrees. For comparison, about 3/4 of all traditional engineers earn engineering degrees.
is the profession concerned with creating and maintaining software applications by applying technologies and practices from computer science, project management, engineering, application domains, and other

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