15 Blasband


Dr. Darius Blasband (Raincode, Brussels)


The obsolescence of information systems, and how to mitigate the associated risk

Date and time and place

12 June, 1pm (ct), Koblenz Campus, room M 001


Software Languages Team, Faculty of Computer Science

Bio of speaker

Darius BLASBAND (RainCode - http://www.raincode.com)

Darius Blasband has a Master's degree and a PhD from the Université Libre De Bruxelles. His interests cover all aspects of programming language processing, including compilation, reverse engineering, parsing technologies, types systems and optimizations. He runs RainCode, based in Brussels, Belgium, which offers products and services for the legacy modernization market. He is responsible for product design and strategic alliances.

Abstract of talk

As an academic discipline, computer science focuses mainly on the development of new computer-based systems. New tools, languages and methods are introduced continuously, to address the complexities and idiosyncrasies of modern state-of-the-art application (as a testimony of this trend, the recent efforts towards mobile, parallel, secure or fault-tolerant software development).

There is precious little interest for the study of aging application, the technical liabilities of organizations, how to mitigate the associated risks, how to keep an existing application alive even when poorly designed in the first place.

Some issues remain amazingly static over the years, but most of the IT environment IT is made of very volatile components: hardware, databases, transaction processing infrastructure, middleware, etc.

This talk introduces the stake for organizations when they must keep obsolete IT systems alive, way beyond their originally planned timespan, and the difficulty of actually decommissioning computer systems.



Quotes from his unpublished book

(These quotes are not terribly related to the talk, but inspiring anyway.)

My name is Darius, and I’m a codeaholic.

Just as a hit man uses a shotgun with a handle molded after his own hand, YAFL is the language designed by me, for me.

I sometimes say that software engineering is a trade where the lucky paranoids survive. Just being paranoid is not enough. In a similar vein, I sometimes explain that given the low rates of success, software development is not about succeeding. It is about avoiding failure.

Software systems are pervasive (Kaboom! Platitude in action!) so pervasive in fact that we have learned to trust them. We don’t have much of a choice. We must trust them, in order to lead an even half-normal life in this world. The alternative would be not to fly planes, drive cars, use electricity, pay bills or even accept to be managed by a government of any sort, like living a self-sufficient life in an off the grid cabin in Montana.