Carnegie Mellon University
May 05, 2017

ISR Faculty Receive SCS Highest Research Award

By Josh Quicksall

ISR faculty members David Garlan, Mary Shaw, and Bradley Schmerl were awarded the 2017 Newell Award for Research Excellence this past month.

Presented to Garlan, Shaw, and Schmerl by the School of Computer Science during its Founders Day celebration, the award recognizes faculty work which epitomizes Allen Newell’s singular research style: detail driven, impactful research which responds to real phenomena or problems. “This is the highest research honor that SCS bestows,” notes Jim Herbsleb, a member of the Newell Award selection committee. “It is meaningful because it rewards work which embodies the principles fundamental to the CMU vision of research.”

Garlan, Shaw, and Schmerl were recognized for their development of software architecture as “an organizing principle for large scale systems.” Additionally, the award recognized the impact of the group’s work on software practice and, more recently, software architecture’s influence on the fields of cyber-physical systems and failure analysis research.

Herbsleb - on behalf of the Newell Award selection committee - explains that the groups body of work is broad, impactful, and long-lasting.“The influence of the work has been profound, showing how quality-related outcomes such as robustness, performance, and security are profoundly influenced by architectural decisions.” In particular, the committee points to the role architectural decision making has played in the success of numerous technology-intensive ventures, the extensive community that has sprung up around the discipline, and the rich array of infrastructure now available to software architects.

“I have always liked the approach to software development that Mary, David and Bradley formalized in the 80s and 90s,” Andrew Moore, Dean of the School of Computer Science, says. “But it was only in 2006 when I moved to a major, ultra-high-productivity software company, that it hit me like a sledgehammer: these principles have been just essential for allowing large groups of talented people to build real working massive systems."

As for the researchers, the award represents both validation as well as sense of excitement. “The Newell Award represents, for us, recognition of the large body of work on software architecture we have carried out with colleagues in SCS and the SEI over the past quarter-century,” the group explains. “The School's selection of this work for the Newell Award gives us renewed energy to tackle exciting new directions in how modern and future software is designed and examined.

Click here to learn more about the history and impact of software architecture research as well as the ground-breaking work currently underway here at Carnegie Mellon.