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Feiler, Gabriel, Goodenough, Linger, Longstaff, Kazman, Klein, Northrop, Schmidt, Sullivan & Wallnau (2006). Ultra-large-scale systems: The software challenge of the future

Bibliographic details:

Feiler, P., Gabriel, R. P., Goodenough, J., Linger, R., Longstaff, T., Kazman, R., Klein, M., Northrop, L., Schmidt, D., Sullivan, K. & Wallnau, K. (2006). Ultra-large-scale systems: The software challenge of the future. Technical report, Software Engineering Institute.‏


The U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) has a goal of information dominance to achieve and exploit superior collection, fusion, analysis, and use of information to meet mission objectives. This goal depends on increasingly complex systems characterized by thousands of platforms, sensors, decision nodes, weapons, and warfighters connected through heterogeneous wired and wireless networks. These systems will push far beyond the size of today s systems and systems of systems by every measure: number of lines of code; number of people employing the system for different purposes; amount of data stored, accessed, manipulated, and refined; number of connections and interdependencies among software components; and number of hardware elements. They will be ultra-largescale (ULS) systems. The sheer scale of ULS systems will change everything. ULS systems will necessarily be decentralized in a variety of ways, developed and used by a wide variety of stakeholders with conflicting needs, evolving continuously, and constructed from heterogeneous parts. People will not just be users of a ULS system; they will be elements of the system. Software and hardware failures will be the norm rather than the exception. The acquisition of a ULS system will be simultaneous with its operation and will require new methods for control. These characteristics are beginning to emerge in today s DoD systems of systems; in ULS systems they will dominate. Consequently, ULS systems will place unprecedented demands on software acquisition, production, deployment, management, documentation, usage, and evolution practices.