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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

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    Momentum Member Spotlight – September 2013

    AIAA Congratulates Dr. Barry Boehm
    By Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications

    BoehmThe AIAA Member Spotlight for September 2013 shines on Dr. Barry Boehm, an AIAA Fellow and TRW Professor of Software Engineering, Computer Science Department, and Director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Software Engineering. Dr. Boehm joined AIAA in 1959.

    From 1989 to 1992 Boehm served as Director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) Information Science and Technology Office, as well as Director of the Department of Defense Engineering Enterprises’ Software and Computer Technology Office. Prior to those positions, Boehm worked for TRW from 1973 to 1989, ending his career there as the Chief Scientist of the Defense Systems Group. Prior to TRW, Boehm was at the Rand Corporation, starting there in 1959. Among Boehm’s contributions to the field of software theory are his Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO), a software cost estimate model; the Spiral Model of software process, a risk prediction model in software systems; and his Theory W, or the win-win approach to software management and requirements. Boehm is also the creator of two advanced software engineering environment, the TRW Software Productivity System and the Quantum Leap Environment. Boehm has also written four books on software, among them 1981’s Software Engineering Economics, and 1989’s Software Risk Management.

    Boehm’s service to the engineering community has included serving as chair of AIAA’s Technical Committee on Computer Systems, chairing IEEE’s Technical Committee on Software Engineering, and serving as a member of the Governing Board of IEEE’s Computer Society. Boehm has also chaired the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board’s Information Technology Panel, as has been Chair of the Board of Visitors of the CMU Software Engineering Institute. Boehm’s numerous honors include being a Guest Lecturer of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1970, the AIAA Information Systems Award in 1979, the J.D. Warnier Prize for Excellence in Information Sciences (1984) the ASQC Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and the ACM Distinguished Research Award in Software Engineering in 1997. Boehm is also an IEEE Fellow, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

    Boehm, like so many other subjects of the Member Spotlight through the years, listed several people when asked to discuss what or who inspired them to seek a career in aerospace. When asked about his inspiration(s), Boehm started with his high school time, specifically Santa Monica High School, class of 1953, and said that it was the works of science fiction that he read during this time that really started him thinking about aerospace, naming Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein as specific influences. After high school, Boehm attended Harvard University, where he worked, as an undergraduate, at Harvard’s Astronomical Observatory from 1955 to 1957, while there Boehm was influenced by the work of Allen Sandage and Fred Whipple. While working at General Dynamics, on the Atlas Rocket, from 1957 to 1959, Boehm was inspired by the work of Krafft Ehricke. From 1959 to 1973, while working at the Rand Corporation in astrodynamics software development, Boehm found the work of Richard Battin, Art Bryson, and Charles Stark Draper, to be inspirational. While at TRW, working on space systems and related software, Boehm took his inspiration from the work of Rimon Rao and Winston Royce. During his time at DARPA, from 1989 to 1992, and again at USC from 1992 to present, Boehm has found inspiration in the work of Eberhardt Rechtin.

    Boehm’s favorite aerospace memory, thus far, came on November 14, 1969, was when he viewed the Apollo 12 launch as a member of NASA’s Research and Technology Advisory Committee. The six day lunar mission was crewed by Charles “Pete” Conrad, Alan L. Bean, and Richard F. Gordon.

    For those in college seeking to enter aerospace, Boehm imparts this advice: “Keep up with information technology and pursue new areas such as remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), composable microsats, and big-data-exploiting smart systems. Also, join AIAA as a student member!” For those in the industry already, Boehm counsels “combine deep astro-experience with broad systems engineering experience.” When it comes to inspiring the next generation Boehm stated that those already working in aerospace should “get involved in teaching and mentoring (the next generation), from K-12 science fairs to graduate courses.” And for those still in high school, and thinking of pursuing an aerospace degree, Boehm advises: “Take math, science, and computing courses. Look into science fairs and local professional activities, like AIAA sections.”

    Boehm concluded our interview by speaking a bit about cybersecurity, especially about its importance to the aerospace enterprise. “As everything gets increasingly connected to everything else, from your daily life to the Interplanetary Internet, it's something you have to consider and trade off with other key performance parameters. It's important to evolve away from reactive, defensive security patches and firewalls to pro-active measures that make it more expensive and risky for hackers to try to penetrate your system.”

    AIAA congratulates Barry Boehm on his selection as the AIAA Member Spotlight for September, 2013, and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors!