October 28, 2004 —
In a surprise ceremony, Barry W. Boehm, professor of software engineering and
director of the Viterbi School Center for Software Engineering, was honored for
his many accomplishments in the field on Oct. 26 with a newly named conference
room bearing his name. Donations for the naming came from more than a dozen individual
and corporate admirers.
Boehm, left, chats with Yanis Yortsos, academic affairs dean in the Viterbi School,
after the presentation.
“SAL 322 will be known from now on as the Barry Boehm Conference Room,” said
Yanis Yortsos, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the USC Viterbi School,
at a ribbon-cutting ceremony during the 19th international Forum on Constructive
Cost Modeling (COCOMO) and Software Cost Modeling on the USC campus.
“I don’t know of anyone with a more complete set of arenas in which they were
a leader,” Yortsos said. “Industry at TRW and Rand…government at DARPA…and academia
at, we’re proud to say, the computer science department of the Viterbi School
A longtime faculty member and highly regarded computer scientist, Boehm is best
known for his work in value-based software engineering. He created a method for
integrating a software system’s process models, product models, property models
and success models, called “model-based system architecting and software engineering,”
also known as M-BASE.
He invented many value-based software methods, such as the “constructive cost
model” (COCOMO), the “spiral model,” “Theory W,” a win-win approach to software
management, and “requirements determination,” which formed the foundations for
software risk management and software quality factor analysis.
Boehm also advanced two software engineering environments: the TRW software productivity
system and the “quantum leap” environment. (TRW was acquired by Northrop Grumman
“He is an incredibly brilliant man,” said Betsy Clark, a senior consultant at
Software Metrics, Inc., in Haymarket, Virginia. “As an academic person, I really
admire how he has reached out to industry to get them involved…it makes everything
we [computer engineers] do that much more relevant.”
Boehm founded USC’s Center for Software Engineering in 1993 to provide an environment
for research and teaching in the areas of large-scale software design and development
processes. The new Center also began to develop generic and domain specific software
architectures, software engineering tools and environments, cooperative system
designs and software engineering economics.
Rick Selby, left, head of software products at Northrop Grumman Space Technology,
congratulates Boehm on his new conference room and plaque.
“I’d call him one of the founding fathers of software engineering economics,”
said Rick Selby, chief software manager at Northrop Grumman Space Technology,
which is one of the Center’s industry affiliates. “He has had deep ideas with
Ellis Horowitz, deputy chairman of USC’s computer science department, characterized
Boehm as “the first to apply economic analysis to the software development process,”
and called him “a leader in teaching software engineering.”
Donors contributing to the Barry Boehm Conference Room plaque included more than
a dozen organizations and individuals. Leadership support was provided by Northrop
Grumman and Reifer Consultants, while contributing support was provided by Fraunhofer
Center Maryland, Galorath, Incorporated, the International Society of Parametric
Analysts, Jo Ann Lane, Price Systems, LLC, Richard D. Stutzke, Software Metrics,
Inc., Absolute Software Co., Inc., Lockheed Martin, Master Systems, Inc., Sherry
and Bill Stukes, and Ricardo and Briana Valerdi.
The conference room unveiling took Boehm by surprise, despite the fact that he
spent much of the morning working in his nearby office and walking past it.
“I had no idea people were trying to distract me from going past the room,” he
said, “so it was certainly a surprise, a wonderful surprise.”
The third-floor suite was chosen because Boehm uses it, probably more frequently
than anyone else, for conferences, seminars, annual workshops, collaborative projects
“We wanted the room to be a living legacy,” said Don Reifer, president of Reifer
Consulting, after the ceremony. “The idea was to give Barry some space to continue
his research and a sense of permanency.”