Software Engineering and Architecture Team

Working the Problem. Finding Solutions

SEAT

Faulty software can delete months of work, crash computers, leave someone’s personal information unprotected, and have other unexpected repercussions. Software engineering addresses possible problems in design, implementation and followup stages by systematically tackling software design, ensuring high quality, affordability, and easy maintenance.  For Dr. Rosanne Gamble and the TU Software Engineering and Architecture Team (SEAT), these are major issues, but they also seek to push the envelope on new and exciting problems.

SEAT creates, implements, and secures novel software systems to solve specific issues. Funding comes from a variety of different sources, with almost $1 million in the last 4 years from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Research Labs (AFRL), and Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Recent research questions include interoperability problems among software systems, defining modeling and verification techniques for improvements in information system and web service security, as well as experiments with Web. 2.0 software to study team collaboration, performance, and learning.

As part of its secure software research, SEAT is currently developing a formal model and calculus to support the security certification of large-scale, software-intensive systems. Security certification plays a major role in guaranteeing that these multi-component systems have less vulnerability after installation.  To further reduce serious security weaknesses and the risk of attack, the calculus logically communicates functional security policies based on certification requirements extracted from government documents.

SEAT is also developing a novel coordination language that can stand in for the global system behavior, the local behavior of its internal systems, and the interaction among the systems as they exchange critical information. The implementation of local and global security mechanisms is transparent in the system design specification. This transparency allows for direct proof that the system design complies with security policies.

Software development research is also a major area of interest for SEAT, as can be seen with their recent work on the Web-based courseware called SEREBRO (Software Engineering REwards for BRainstorming Online). Funded by the NSF CreativeIT program, SEREBRO fosters collaboration within student project teams by providing a graphical idea network that facilitates discussion among team members. Using the idea network, SEREBRO connects and rewards user contributions to team problemsolving tasks. The idea network is paired with a set of core project management tools so that ideas can be directly inserted in project artifacts, such as documents, member tasks, and code.

With the assistance of several graduate students and outside professional consultants, Dr. Gamble’s group tackles this diverse array of software engineering tasks directly and creatively, contributing significant applications and professionals to the discipline. Her students have presented at national and international conferences while also publishing results in professional journals like Journal of Systems and Software. Future additions to their research topics and results are highly anticipated.