News Release

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science
For immediate release

News contacts:

Steve McGregor, UTD
(972) 883-2293
[email protected] 


$500,000 Grant to Fund Software Engineering Research
By Five U.T. Dallas Computer Science Faculty Members

National Science Foundation Backs Study to Lower Software Costs

RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 24, 2001) - Five faculty members at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) have been awarded a $500,000
grant for a three-year software engineering study that could lead to vastly lower development costs on large-scale software projects.
The grant was made by the National Science Foundation to the Embedded Software Center at UTD for a research project headed by Dr. I-Ling Yen, associate professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Yen will be joined in the research by four of her colleagues in the university’s Department of Computer Science - Dr. Farokh Bastani, professor; Dr. Yi Deng, associate professor; Dr. Latifur Khan, assistant professor; and Dr. Edwin Sha, professor.

“Large-scale software is difficult to develop, requires significant manpower and, therefore, is expensive to create,” said Yen. “At UTD, we are working on a process that could reduce the manpower requirements for such projects significantly - perhaps as much as 90 percent.”

According to Yen, research elsewhere has focused on two different approaches to streamlining software engineering:

  • Code generation, where, in theory, a computer-based tool could be developed to automate the writing of software code to some extent.
  • Component re-use, where existing software “modules” can be stored, retrieved and assembled into a customized software program.

Dr. Yen

UTD’s idea is to meld the best of both methods into a single process, Yen said, that would greatly reduce the development time and cost compared to writing a software program from scratch. Possible beneficiaries of such research, she said, could be manufacturers of complex systems and devices with significant amounts of “embedded software,” such as telecommunications equipment like routers, as well as automobiles, ships, aircraft and defense-related products.

The UTD group’s first task will be to develop a comprehensive software component repository containing a wide variety of parts of other software programs, each with a unique set of characteristics and a specific purpose. The components must then be labeled and organized in a way so that they may be easily identified and retrieved.

The researchers must also develop computer-based tools and templates to permit users to customize software components to fulfill the ultimate aim of the larger software program and to simplify the code selection and generating processes.

“This is ground-breaking work that we believe will go well beyond related research done at other universities in terms of scope, direction and complexity,” Yen said.

In addition to the five faculty members, as many as five graduate students will be involved in the project as

research assistants. Undergraduate students also will have an opportunity to take part in the research, including those enrolled in UTD’s new software engineering degree program.

This fall, UTD became one of just a handful of universities that grant a B.S. degree in software engineering. Several years ago, the university became the first institution of higher education in the United States to offer a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications engineering.

The Jonsson School is one of the fastest-growing schools of engineering and computer science in the nation. Last year, it ranked first nationally in the number of computer science degrees awarded to women and second in the total number of computer science degrees conferred.

Last Spring, the university broke ground for construction of a 152,000-square-foot addition to the Jonsson School. When completed in July 2002, the new facility will nearly double the school’s capacity to approximately 5,000 students.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at

Other Press Releases & Announcements
This page last updated
June 13, 2002