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IEEE's 14th Annual Requirements Conference is a success in Minneapolis

September 25, 2006

Downtown Minneapolis played host to the 14th International IEEE Requirements Engineering Conference Sept. 11-15, bringing academic and industry based software engineers from all over the world together to share ideas.

The conference, based at the Millennium Hotel, included presentation of the latest research results, workshops, tutorials, keynote speakers on a variety of topics, as well as a chance for engineers to network and explore Minneapolis.

Approximately 315 people attended the conference. Of this group, about a third were industry practitioners and two thirds were academic researchers and students. Program Chair Dr. Martin Glinz, from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, said that the conference attracted more participants than expected.

In addition to the mix of practitioners and academics, there was also a mix of nationalities represented at the conference; visitors came from 25 nations and all five continents were represented. "It's a truly international thing," Glinz said.

University of Minnesota Computer Science Professor Mats Heimdahl, Director of the University of Minnesota Software Engineering Center (UMSEC), served as the conference's Local Arrangements Chair. "Having this conference in Minneapolis speaks highly of the vibrant information technology industry in the area and the active research programs in software engineering in the Midwest," said Heimdahl.

General Conference Chair Robyn Lutz, from Iowa State University and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said her goal for the conference was to have a balance of industry practitioners, researchers, and students in attendance. She said the industry practitioners bring challenges and experience in requirements engineering, while the researchers and students can offer some solutions.

The large group of conference attendees represented a wide range of specialties relating to how software requirements can be applied.

Shawna Smith, with the Defense Finance Accounting Services (DFAS) in Indianapolis, Ind. writes requirements for accounting services. But she and collogue Annette Prindahl of ATP, an investment company in Denmark, discussed how requirements are used in other ways, for example to define emotions for video games.

Jane Cleland Huang from DePaul University in Chicago, winner of the conference's best paper award, said that requirements often relate to real world problems, but don't always get the attention they deserve. "A lot of times students don't see requirements as a jazzy area to study," she said.

But this year there were 27 student volunteers buzzing around the conference - many from UMSEC, one of the conference sponsors - in addition to all the students that attended the conference as regular attendees. "Getting students involved is key to the future of requirements engineering and software engineering. They are the next generation researchers and industry leaders," said Heimdahl.

The Conference was sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society, ACM, SIGSOFT, IFIP, University of Zurich, Iowa State University and UMSEC. Corporate sponsors include Siemens Corporate Research, Boston Scientific, DaimlerChrysler, IBM and Digital River.

The 15th International IEEE Requirement Conference is scheduled for Oct. 17-19, 2007 in Dehli, India.