A call for rigorous evidence-based software engineering

Here’s a video recording of a keynote presented by Greg Wilson at CUSEC 2010 entitled “Bits of Evidence: What we actually know about software development and why we believe it’s true”.

My favourites are a few of his closing thoughts.

On the point of research:

The point of research is to find a really good question that is going to move human knowledge forward. There are lots of bad questions out there that are either pointless or too hard to tackle. Finding something that is worth answering and within reach is an art form, and the only way to teach it to you is to have you do it for a few years.

On the purpose of university:

We are trying to teach you how to take over the world because you’re going to have to whether you want it or not, sooner than you think.

On inheriting the world:

I want [my daughter] to inherit a better world from you than you’re going to inherit from us. And the only way to get there is to have you think a little more clearly… [Before you know it,] You’ll be running the world, and the world you’ll be running will be scarier place than the one you’ve got now. You’ll be dealing with all the mess that my generation is leaving behind because we’re to fat and happy to fix it.

For a more comprehensive transcript, check out Joey deVilla’s notes on the Canadian Developer Connection MSDN blog.