22. Juni 2021

Digital Humanism Lecture Series

Should we preserve the world's software history, and can we?

Date and time: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. (17:00) CET

“Should we preserve the world's software history, and can we?”

Speaker: Roberto Di Cosmo (INRIA, France)
Moderator & Respondent: Edward A. Lee (UC Berkeley, USA)

Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. What role does software play in it?

Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. What role does software play in it?

We claim that software source code is an important product of human creativity, and embodies a growing part of our scientific, organisational and technological knowledge: it is a part of our cultural heritage, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that it is not lost. Preserving the history of software is also a key enabler for reproducibility of research, and as a means to foster better and more secure software for society.

This is the mission of Software Heritage, a non-profit organization dedicated to building the universal archive of software source code, catering to the needs of science, industry and culture, for the benefit of society as a whole. In this presentation we will survey the principles and key technology used in the archive that contains over 10 billion unique source code files from some 160 millions projects worldwide.

Short Bio of Roberto Di Cosmo:

An alumnus of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, with a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, Roberto Di Cosmo was associate professor for almost a decade at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 1999, he became a Computer Science full professor at University Paris Diderot, where he was head of doctoral studies for Computer Science from 2004 to 2009. A trustee of the IMDEA Software institute, and member of the national committee for Open Science in France, he is currently on leave at Inria.

His research activity spans theoretical computing, functional programming, parallel and distributed programming, the semantics of programming languages, type systems, rewriting and linear logic, and, more recently, the new scientific problems posed by the general adoption of Free Software, with a particular focus on static analysis of large software collections. He has published over 20 international journals articles and 50 international conference articles.

After creating the Free Software thematic group of Systematic, that helped fund over 50 Open Source research and development collaborative projects, and IRILL, a research structure dedicated to Free and Open Source Software quality, he got support from Inria to create Software Heritage, with the mission to build the universal archive of all the source code publicly available, in partnership with UNESCO.

Short Bio of Edward A. Lee:

Edward A. Lee has been working on embedded software systems for 40 years. After studying and working at Yale, MIT, and Bell Labs, he landed at Berkeley, where he is now Professor of the Graduate School in EECS. His research is focused on cyber-physical systems. He is the lead author of the open-source software system Ptolemy II, author of textbooks on embedded systems and digital communications, and has recently been writing books on philosophical and social implications of technology. His current research is focused on a polyglot coordination language for distributed real-time systems called Lingua Franca that combines features of discrete-event modeling, synchronous languages, and actors. His recent books are The Coevolution: The Entwined Futures and Humans and Machines (2020), Plato and the Nerd: The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology (2017), and Introduction to Embedded Systems: A Cyber-Physical System Approach (2017, with Sanjit Seshia)

To participate via Zoom go to: https://tuwien.zoom.us/j/96389928143?pwd=UU5YRkNuRmdoWHV4MFBwMWRCcUErdz09
(Password: 0dzqxqiy)

The talk will be live streamed and recorded on the TU Vienna's DigHum YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/digitalhumanism

For further announcements and information about the speakers in the Lecture Series, see https://dighum.ec.tuwien.ac.at/news-events
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