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ACM SIGSOFT Honors Innovators Who Advanced Software Engineering

Two Awards to Be Presented at First-Ever ACM South African Conference on Software

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK, May 3, 2010 – The ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) will present its highest awards to several innovators whose contributions in research, education, and service have shaped the development of software engineering and its ability to solve complex computational problems.  The recipients include Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson and John Vlissides, authors of the best-selling Design Patterns, who are known as the “Gang of Four”; Leon J. Osterweil for his role in mentoring and initiating programs that benefited software engineering academics; and Mary Lou Soffa for her prominent national leadership role in the software design and development community.  

            Two of the awards, the Influential Educator and Distinguished Service Awards, will be presented at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2010), which is marking its first appearance in South Africa May 2-8, 2010, in Cape Town.  The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, will present the opening address. 

            Eric Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and (posthumously) John Vlissides will receive the 2010 SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award for contributions to the practice of software engineering.  Their landmark book explored the capabilities and pitfalls of object-oriented programming and catalogued 23 specific solutions to common design problems. In 1994, the book won a Jolt productivity award and a Software Development productivity award. Gamma is technical director of the Software Technology Center of Object Technology International in Zurich, Switzerland.  Helm is a partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group in Sydney, Australia.  Johnson is on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Computer Science, where he heads the Patterns/Software Architecture Group.  Vlissides, a researcher at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, passed away in 2005.  The award will be presented at the SIGSOFT symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2010) November 7-11, in Santa Fe, NM, where the recipients have been invited to present a keynote address reflecting on their work. 

            The 2010 SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award will be presented to University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Leon Osterweil for pioneering work in graduate-level education in software engineering.  He launched the New Software Engineering Faculty Symposium in 1991 at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) to encourage new software engineering faculty in their early careers.  A consultant for IBM, Bell Laboratories, SAIC, MCC, TRW, and many others, he participates in ACM’s Distinguished Speakers Program (DSP).  His topics include Precise Process Definition; Software Engineering Can Make Elections Better; and Using Software Engineering Technology to Reduce Medical Errors.  In 2003, he was awarded the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award for Lifetime Excellence in Research.  

            Mary Lou Soffa, who chairs the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia, will receive the 2010 SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award for her extensive service in the software engineering community and her commitment to strengthening ties with her colleagues across the programming languages community.  Soffa has served on the community’s leading editorial boards, advisory and steering committees, and conferences.  She chaired the 1998 SIGSOFT International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA), the 2002 SIGSOFT symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE), the Doctoral Symposia at ICSE 2001 and 2003, and co-chaired the ICSE 2006 Program Committee.  She also established a prominent role in mentoring programs for women including leadership in the Computer Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W).  She was elected an ACM Fellow in 1999.           

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.  



The ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering provides a forum for computing professionals from industry, government and academia to examine principles, practices, and new research results in software engineering.  SIGSOFT seeks to improve the ability to engineer software by stimulating interaction among practitioners, researchers, and educators; by fostering the professional development of software engineers; and by representing software engineers to professional, legal, and political entities.


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