The Impact Project
The Impact Project is an ongoing initiative whose goal is to determine the impact of software engineering research upon software engineering practice. The project organizes volunteers who are among the world's most eminent software engineering researchers and practitioners to develop solidly researched documentation that will aid future research, education, and technology transition.
The Impact Project identifies and documents research contributions that have had substantial impact, determines the research modalities that have been successful, identifies technology transition approaches that have worked best, and anticipates directions that software engineering research might most effectively pursue, based on its history and positioning. Project results are useful to the software engineering research and practitioner communities, to other academic disciplines, to government funding agencies, and to the public by helping to objectively assess the software engineering community's record of achievement. The project also provides a case study of how a scientific community works, and what approaches both hamper and improve its effectiveness.
The project is a special initiative of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group in Software Engineering (SIGSOFT). It is funded in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.K. Institute of Electrical Engineers.
The project has two organizational thrusts:
- to seek, on a technology-by-technology basis, the sources of the ideas, designs, and working prototypes of widely used software technologies and
- to examine the ways in which software engineering research directions and areas have been synergized into commonly used technologies.
The project's output will be a series of documents and briefings targeted to different audiences. One audience is software engineering researchers and practitioners, for whom the project should shed light on the effectiveness of past efforts to improve software utility and quality, and suggest how to improve future effectiveness. A second audience is the other disciplines of computer science and engineering, (such as programming languages, operating systems, databases, and theory), for whom the project should provide insights into the sources of current technology and approaches for making research more effective in influencing practice. A third audience is decision makers in both government and industry who set research investment priorities. The documents and briefings should help them render more informed and publicly defensible judgments by providing them with greater insight into the challenges, failures, and successes of technology transfer. Finally, project output will aid teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, providing a solid historical basis upon which to develop exciting new course materials.
For further details see the Impact whitepaper.