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Anecdotes: Twenty Year Retrospective: The NATO Software Engineering Conferences Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129596D
Original Publication Date: 1988-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 1 page(s) / 14K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Alan Perlis: AUTHOR [+2]


Yale University Cambridge, MA

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
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Copyright ©; 1989 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Anecdotes: Twenty Year Retrospective: The NATO Software Engineering Conferences

Alan Perlis

Yale University Cambridge, MA

The theme of the 11th International Conference on Software Engineering was Twenty Years of Software Engineering: Looking Forward, Looking Back. As part of the Looking Back, I was asked to chair a panel (on Tuesday, 16 May 1989) consisting of participants from the original NATO conferences on software engineering held in the late 1960s. These conferences are considered as signaling the beginning of the emergence of software engineering as a discipline separate from computer science, though some dispute the nature of the "separateness." The panelists were specifically asked to reflect on their thoughts about software engineering, the NATO conferences, and the immediate results within the context of the time. In other words, to try and recapture what was happening to their ideas as affected by the meetings. Since this is well within the scope of many of the contributions to the Anecdotes section of the Annals, we are here publishing these remembrances and opinions.

In the brief recollections that follow on the next few pages, there are a variety of thoughts ranging from uneasiness about being in august company or fearing that one has nothing to contribute, to the certainty that one has seen the future and finds the conferences a validating experience. There is also a view from a graduate student of the time, especially interesting because it sets the impact of the conferences in the context of the events of the...