CSC 290 Collaborative Software Engineering

Course Description

Running on low-cost, powerful computers, immense storage, and ubiquitous networks, a new generation of software has radically changed how information is distributed and accessed and is opening new possibilities in how (fast) knowledge is created and used. This revolution has been compared to the advent of printing, and the pertinent expertise and skill are considered as basic and essential as reading and writing.

This experimental course teaches principles and practices of collaborative software development and its use in converting data into knowledge and knowledge into tools. The topics include fundamentals of programming (more for organizing information than for managing computers), lessons from past information systems, and current practice and tools for teamwork and (virtual) collaboration. The main assignments are a series of group projects including the final project of developing a possibly on-line recommendation system. The projects will be evaluated based on the design, implementation, and deployment, including an end-of-semester competition based on a user survey.

Draft Syllabus

  • Programming languages and tools
    • essence of programming---how to create and communicate
      • object orientation, lambda calculus, continuation passing, Guy Steele's discovery of actor model, Curry-Howard isomorphism
      • case studies: scheme, Java, ruby, R
    • libraries and packages, type theory, module composition, design patterns, virtual machines---how to reuse
      • case studies: C header files, Java packages, managed run-time, augmenting an interpreted language
    • tools for version control, source browsing, debugging, and distributing---how to build
      • using emacs and command window
      • case study: the anatomy of a million-line open-source application
    • tools for collaboration---how to evolve * chats, wiki, issue tracking, web 2.0
      • design problem: programmable wiki
  • Software engineering
    • history: programmable computers, high-level languages, software crisis, Unix, personal computing, interpreted languages, agile and extreme programming
    • software development process
      • requirement analysis, specification, architecture, implementation, testing, deployment, documentation
      • waterfall model, iterative, incremental, adaptive
    • basis of the discipline
      • modular design, information hiding, separation of concerns
      • selected reading: Brooks, Parnas, Milner, Kennedy, Booch, Gabriel
    • user interface design and documentation
    • case studies of industry software development (IBM/Microsoft/Google)
  • Collective intelligence and scalable information systems
    • collaborative information processing: searching, filtering, ranking, clustering, modeling, predicting
    • composition, communication, complexity
      • locality, connectivity, and other emergent properties
    • decentralized and self-organizing systems
      • strategy games, evolutionary systems
    • sustainable development
      • ethics, privacy, outsourcing, cloud computing, should software be free?

Work in progress (restricted access)

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Topic revision: r5 - 2008-09-22 - ChenDing
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