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Language difficulties

Here’s the abstract for a talk in the Distinguished Lecture Series at the Computer Science department here:

The economic importance of services has been rising significantly, and much of the exciting progress in recent years is due to our increased ability to model, implement, and use them computationally. There is a growing technological vision and corresponding challenges of implementing and supporting service-oriented applications and infrastructures. Service engineering can have great impact on the way that enterprises perform their functions, and can in turn be affected by the ways that the roles and expectations of people are connected to the information technology.

Addressing these opportunities demands exciting progress along many directions of the computing sciences, ranging from basic questions of algorithms, models, and distributed systems to very practical issues of deployment and industrial practice. Services models provide a higher level of abstraction, one requiring not just implementation and control but also purpose and management. New standards and practical experience need to be supported by deeper and broader research. Furthermore, the relationships with human and organizational aspects are fundamental and introduce difficult research problems.

This talk will discuss various aspects of services, some research problems and solutions, and the challenges for the computing sciences.

The speaker is Stuart Feldman, Vice President, Computer Science in IBM Research, and also described as “the author of Make and the first Fortran 77 compiler.” That’s pretty impressive, and it also suggests that he knows some useful stuff. But I don’t understand the abstract at all! This is not to say that I think it’ll be a bad talk, I’m just amazed that I can’t understand what he’s saying.

P.S. For those who are interested: the talk is Mon 11 Sep, 11-12:15 in Schapiro Center Davis Auditorium, 4th Floor CEPSR.


  1. Koray says:

    I am with you. It sounds "too enterprisey" to be comprehensible.

  2. Aleks says:

    Service-oriented architecture is a new style of software engineering: one which isn't based on software that you purchase and download to your computer, but instead on software that you use over the network, for example.

    The abstract definitely makes sense to a computer scientist.

  3. Jaap says:

    You are probably confused by the frequent use of the word "service" in a way that has little if anything to do with the way it is used in economics. I do question whether the word is particularly well defined from the computer science perspective, and there are definitely computer scientists who believe it belongs more to the realm of IT marketing than that of CS per se, but it does refer broadly to using software that one does not administer and that runs on a computer that one does not own or know the whereabouts of.