The Death of Software as We Knew it. Long Live Software!

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Speaker:  Dr. Daniel Sabbah

There is accelerating synergy between the business imperatives to shift quickly and requirements to use (and drive) software technology to enable that agility. This virtuous cycle is manifesting itself and accelerating across multiple industries.   Many of those industries are literally reshaping themselves to take advantage of software-based agile methods.

After 40+ years in the IT industry (mostly in software), I find the current environment to be the most disruptive I have ever experienced. A number of forces are coming together to create significant shifts in every aspect of technology and resulting business models. The forces are not new but  we seem to have reached a tipping point (inflection point) by bringing many of them together in unique and complimentary ways to disrupt not only the IT industry but ANY industry dependent on information and automation. This talk will try to isolate and discuss the technical factors as well as broach the economic and organizational principles involved. We will show how some timeless social rules derived from economists such as Coase's Nature of the Firm and from the domain of software engineering like Conway's law can help us better understand what’s happening. We will use examples, some classic and known, but mostly from my own experience in running large software businesses in the broader context of IBM.  We will not focus on ‘hyperbole’ around trends (big data, clouds, blockchains, cognitive systems) but instead try to address core issues in software architecture and economic forces that are coming together to drive what we see as long-term shifts in ways industries are using open standards, global communication, massive real-time information, shifts in software architecture and development to reshape themselves and their supply chains (ecosystems).

Bio: Dr. Sabbah is currently retired from IBM. He has over 40 years experience as a software professional with experience in software research and software development. His last assignment was to shepherd the evolution of IBM’s Cloud business as it’s CTO. Prior, he ran 3 multibillion-dollar software businesses (Websphere, Rational and Tivoli),  managing organizations ranging from 5 to 25,000 to deliver software products for developers and large data center operations. He has hands-on experience as a software developer/engineer in Middleware messaging and transaction systems (IBM Websphere)  and clouds. He was a founder of IBM’s open source policy and had a strong hand in such projects as Eclipse, Web Services, and more recently in IBM’s role in OpenStack, CloudFoudry as well as Docker containers.  As  a researcher in IBM's Research division in the late 80’s and early 90’s, he did work in AI (specifically in Computer Vision and problem solving) and eventually ran the Software Technology group there.  His own research work was in the early days of so-called ‘connectionism’, a precursor to today's neural networks. He has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Rochester and a business degree from the Wharton School of management at U of Penn. 

Specialties: Software Development, Middleware, product development and research. Cloud architectures and fabrics. Fifteen years of research in different aspects of AI including Computer Vision.

Light lunch will be served.