Exploring the Cognitive Foundations of Software Engineering

Exploring the Cognitive Foundations of Software Engineering

Yingxu Wang (University of Calgary, Canada) and Shushma Patel (London South Bank University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/jssci.2009040101
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Abstract

It is recognized that software is a unique abstract artifact that does not obey any known physical laws. For software engineering to become a matured engineering discipline like others, it must establish its own theoretical framework and laws, which are perceived to be mainly relied on cognitive informatics and denotational mathematics, supplementing to computing science, information science, and formal linguistics. This paper analyzes the basic properties of software and seeks the cognitive informatics foundations of software engineering. The nature of software is characterized by its informatics, behavioral, mathematical, and cognitive properties. The cognitive informatics foundations of software engineering are explored on the basis of the informatics laws of software and software engineering psychology. A set of fundamental cognitive constraints of software engineering, such as intangibility, complexity, indeterminacy, diversity, polymorphism, inexpressiveness, inexplicit embodiment, and unquantifiable quality measures, is identified. The conservative productivity of software is revealed based on the constraints of human cognitive capacity.

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