Keynote Speech I

Seven Myths in Computing and Software Engineering


Carl K. Chang 

IEEE Life Fellow/AAAS Fellow

Professor of Computer Science, Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction, Iowa State University

Chair Professor, National Central University, Taiwan




Carl K. Chang is Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Director of the Software Engineering Laboratory at Iowa State University. He also holds a courtesy appointment as Chair Professor at his alma mater, the National Central University, Taiwan. He received a PhD in computer science from Northwestern University in 1982, and worked for GTE Automatic Electric and Bell Laboratories before joining the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1984. He joined Iowa State University in 2002 as Department Chair of Computer Science, and completed three terms (2002-2013) as its chairman. His research interests include software engineering, services computing and smart aging. Chang is the 2004 President of the IEEE Computer Society. Previously he served as the Editor-in-Chief for IEEE Software (1991-94), the premier publication that bridges software research and practice, and established an exemplary Industry Advisory Board for Computer Society’s publications during his tenure. He has received the Computer Society’s Meritorious Service Award, Outstanding Contribution Award, the Golden Core recognition, and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal. In 2006 he received the prestigious Marin Drinov Medal from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and was recognized by IBM with the IBM Faculty Award in 2006, 2007 and 2009. From 2007-2010 he served as the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Computer, the flagship publication of the IEEE Computer Society. He is the 2012 recipient of the Richard E. Merwin Medal from the IEEE Computer Society. More recently, he was elected the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus by the National Central University in Taiwan and received the 2014 Overseas Outstanding Contribution Award from China Computer Federation. At present, he also serves as the Steering Committee Chair for the IEEE World Congress on Services that covers all aspects of services computing and applications. Chang is a Life Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of AAAS, and a Life Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences.


Facts, war stories, folklores and myths abound for researchers and professionals who endeavor in the computing fields and those who specialize in software engineering. In this short talk, I will try to debunk seven myths identified from my 40 years of experience both as a computer scientist and a software engineering researcher. I will first give a historical account of what transpired in computing since the early days after the invention of electronic digital computers in the 1930s and 1940s, and recount advances through different stages of modern computer architectures and software engineering “paradigms.” I will enumerate and embark on a truth-finding journey with the audience as we explore the origins and evolution of these myths, and suggest what the stories might tell us about what is to come in the next 2-3 decades. Certainly, I will have to leave it to the audience to evaluate in the years to come what I am going to preach today, and I anticipate with hope and fascination the possible fulfillment of my predictions. 

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