ICSE 2012

System Processes are Software Too
Leon J. Osterweil
University of Massachusetts Amherst


This talk explores the application of software engineering tools, technologies, and approaches to developing and continuously improving systems by focusing on the systems’ processes. The systems addressed are those that are complexcoordinations of the efforts of humans, hardware devices, and software subsystems, where humans are on the “inside”, playing critical roles in the functioning of the system and its processes. The talk suggests that in such cases, the collection of processes that use the system is tantamount to being the system itself, suggesting that improving the system’s processes amounts to improving the system. Examples of systems from a variety of different domains that have been addressed and improved in this way will be presented and explored. The talk will suggest some additionaluntried software engineering ideas that seem promising as vehicles for supporting system development and improvement, and additional system domains that seem ripe for the application of this kind of software-based process technology. The talk will emphasize that these applications of software engineering approaches to systems has also had the desirable effect of adding to our understandings of software engineering.These understandings have created a software engineering research agenda that is complementary to, and synergistic with, agendas for applying software engineering to system development and improvement.


Leon J. Osterweil is a professor in the Department of Computer Science, co-director of the Laboratory for Advanced Software Engineering Research (LASER), and founding co-director of the Electronic Enterprise Institute, all at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he also served as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from 2001-02005. Previously he had been a Professor in, and Chair of, Computer Science Departments at both the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Professor Osterweil was awarded the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award for Lifetime Excellence in Research in 2003 and the ACM SIGSOFT Most Influential Educator Award in 2010. His ICSE 9 paper was awarded a prize as the Most Influential Paper of ICSE 9, awarded as a 10-year retrospective. Prof. Osterweil is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a member of the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Software Process Improvement and Practice, Automated Software Engineering, and the International Journal of Software and Informatics. Prof. Osterweil chaired a National Academy of Sciences committee that studied strategies for improving electronic services provision for the US Social Security Administration, and is currently serving on an NAS committee investigating similar issues for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He has presented keynote talks at a variety of meetings, including ICSE 9 (the Ninth International Conference on Software Engineering) where he introduced the concept of Process Programming. Prof. Osterweil has been the Program Committee Chair for such conferences as the 16th International Conference on Software Engineering, and was the General Chair of the Sixth ACM Sigsoft Conference on the Foundations of Software Engineering, and the 28th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2006).

Professor Osterweil’s research focuses on the definition, analysis, and iterative improvement of processes. He led the project to develop the Little-JIL process definition language. His work has been supported by a variety of sources, most principally by numerous grants from both the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. His research career is summarized in the book, The Engineering of Software, published in 2011 by Springer.

Personal Web Page: http://laser.cs.umass.edu/people/ljo.html


Process Analysis and Optimization in Emergency Medicine
Rolf H. van Lengen
Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering, Germany


Time-critical emergencies occur by the hundreds every day. Overall, there are about 6,000 emergency physician missions in Germany each day – twice as many as 20 years ago. Germany has a nationwide Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System with rather short response times that is internationally well acknowledged. Nonetheless, there are many cases where an efficient EMS mission cannot be guaranteed. It must be noticed that short response intervals and rapid treatment on the scene are useless unless the patient is not transported in a timely manner to a hospital capable to immediately deliver the necessary level of care. Today valuable minutes often pass in the dispatch center until a suitable hospital can be found. Furthermore, either out of ignorance or as a makeshift solution, patients are transported to hospitals that are located close by, but do not have the optimal equipment for the diagnosed problem. The reasons for this vary: It is hard to estimate transport times, it costs time to check on other available hospitals, and the information received then is often incomplete or not reliable.

Experiences made during missions are also rarely used to close gaps identified in the emergency service processes. Since documentation usually only consists of hand-written notes on paper, there is hardly any standardized analysis of missions from the perspective of quality management. Many of these critical “gaps” could be closed almost seamlessly if up-to-date information technology were used systematically. In the optimized rescue chain from the dispatch center receiving the emergency call to the hospital, information and communication technology is of utmost importance.

Therefore the German Center for Emergency Medicine and Information Technology (DENIT) has been established at Fraunhofer IESE in order to study reliable process chains, highly dependable system architectures, as well as high-performance infrastructures for logistics and communication in EMS services and to transfer these into practice in emergency medicine.

This talk explores the application of different information systems along the rescue chain and the respective contribution to enhance the efficiency of our EMS systems. The focus will be set on site-planning of EMS bases, dynamic geo-referential dispatch of EMS units, coupling of dispatch centers, mobile digital documentation systems and information systems that provide real-time access to available hospital capacities. Finally examples of different information systems established and introduced by DENIT will be presented.


Rolf H. van Lengen is head of the Process Compliance and Improvement Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE, and co-director of the German Institute for Emergency Medicine and Information Technology. Rolf H. van Lengen received his Degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, in 1989. He has been a researcher in the field of computer graphics at both the University of Kaiserslautern and the German Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Kaiserslautern. Since 2007, Rolf van Lengen has been a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE), Kaiserslautern, in the Process Management Department.