Anthony Wasserman on ICSE '97

By Lainie Berger

While he worked closely with Dick Taylor and Alfonso Fuggetta as Program Coordinators, Tony Wasserman was aware from the beginning that they came from different perspectives and were setting out to accomplish different tasks in assembling the program. The one thing they were completely in synch with, however, was the fact that their goal was to stretch the boundaries of the ICSE program.

"We wanted to produce a program that would be of interest to a broad spectrum of the software engineering community, including both researchers and the professional developers." Collectively, the Program Coordinators wanted to make sure that the program introduced some new topic areas (including the www, Computers and Human Interaction, etc.) that were timely and not included in previous ICSE conferences.

Another significant new issue for 1997 was the fact that for the first time, "a practicing professional (not a researcher) can come to the conference and find a session in virtually every time slot throughout the conference."

Despite many of the advances that were made in 1997, there were a few unmet goals for the conference. Several major interests turned down invitations to speak, including Boeing 777, Iridium, European Space Station, FedEx, Fidelity, and others. In spite of that, Wasserman thinks "we were successful in building an interesting set of professionally-oriented sessions, aided greatly by the committee that assembled the Lessons from Organizations sessions."

ICSE 1997 is unique from previous ICSE conferences and that is attributed to the fact that there are a "number of non-research oriented sessions." In fact, Wasserman recommends that those non-research oriented guests make sure to attend some of the technical paper sessions to catch up on what is happening in the research community. On the flip side, researchers are encouraged to go to the sessions with practical topics and experience reports to get an idea of what is going on with the technology.

When asked how many industry sessions there would be at the conference, he replied, "There are no industry sessions. There are just sessions. This is important."

He closes by saying "I am glad to have had the opportunity to serve as a Program Coordinator. It gave me the chance to work with others who wanted to increase the amount of participation by those outside the research community. I'm disappointed that we weren't able to put together a sizeable exhibition. Attendees can go see the commercial exhibit at the DCI Client-Server and Database World in the adjacent Hynes Auditorium and learn more about commercially available tools."