Crises and Lessons from the History of Software

Speaker: Martyn Thomas
Date: Tuesday 19nd Sepember 2017 Thursday 22nd Sepember 2016
Time: 17:00 for 17:30 14:30

Conference room of the Royal Northern College of Music, Booth St East M13 9RD

BCS, 5 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HA


About the seminar

“If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us. But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us.”  (S. T. Coleridge)

“But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
If you make a slip in handling us you die!”  (Rudyard Kipling, The Secret of the Machines)

It took little more than ten years to progress from the first software to the first “software crisis”, and new crises have been declared in every decade that followed. This talk explores what lessons have been learnt, whether the software development profession has learnt the right lessons and whether there even is a software development profession.

About the speaker

Martyn Thomas has worked in the software industry and with university and government research teams since 1969. In 1983 he founded Praxis and in the 1990s he was a partner in Deloitte Consulting, with worldwide responsibilities for software engineering and Y2K services, leaving in 1996 to return to working for himself as a consultant to NATS, Railtrack, Eurocontrol and as an expert witness in major litigations. In 2007 he was appointed CBE “for services to software engineering”. He has been a director of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and has advised the MoD and other Government Departments on cybersecurity. He is currently on the main Board of the Health and Safety Executive where he leads the Science, Engineering and Evidence Assurance Committee (SEEAC).

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