A decade ago, Tony Hoare noted that "The real value of tests is not that they detect bugs in the code but that they detect inadequacies in the methods, concentration, and skills of those who design and produce the code." As usual, Tony saw far ahead of the current reality. At that time, Microsoft Research was very focused on a specific aspect of software development (finding code defects). Over the intervening years, Microsoft Research's efforts in this area grew greatly, and our research agenda broadened considerably. This talk will trace the evolution of Microsoft Research's efforts to improve software development and explore how testing fits into the more people-centric approach that we have reached.
Reception to follow.
James Larus is Director of Software Architecture for the Data Center Futures team at Microsoft Research. He has been an active contributor to the programming languages, compiler, and computer architecture communities. He joined Microsoft Research as a Senior Researcher in 1998 and, for five years, led the Software Productivity Tools (SPT) group, which developed and applied a variety of innovative techniques in static program analysis and constructed tools that found defects (bugs) in software. The group's research has had considerable impact on the research community, and has been shipped in Microsoft products such as the Static Driver Verifier, FX/Cop, and other widely used internal software development tools. Larus then became the Research Area Manager for programming languages and tools and started the Singularity research project, which demonstrated that modern programming languages and software engineering techniques could fundamentally improve software architectures.
Before joining Microsoft, Larus was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he co-led the Wisconsin Wind Tunnel (WWT) research project. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He is a Fellow of the ACM.