DC/Baltimore ACM SIGAda Chapter

Our Next DC/Baltimore ACM SIGAda Chapter Meeting
is scheduled for
Tuesday, 11 October 2005 at 7:30 P.M. (Light Refreshments at 7:00 PM)
Dr. Bill Bail, of The MITRE Corporation
will be speaking on

Requirements Engineering for Dependable Systems
at the MITRE 2 Building in McLean, Virginia

We welcome the DC Chapter of ACM, who will be joining us for this special meeting.


To Members and Friends of DC/Baltimore SIGAda Chapter

Next Meeting:

Our Next DC/Baltimore SIGAda Chapter Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, 11 October 2005, as a Joint Meeting with the DC Chapter of ACM. Dr. Bill Bail of the MITRE Corporation will be speaking on "Requirements Engineering for Dependable Systems". The presentation will be held in Room 1N100A/B at the MITRE2 Building in McLean, Virginia.

Light Refreshments will be served starting at 7:00 PM. The presentation starts promptly at 7:30 PM. You are encouraged to network after the meeting.

Foreign Nationals should please register for the meeting by COB Friday, 7 October 2005, by leaving a message for Mr. Currie Colket at (703) 983-7381 or colket@mitre.org. Please include your full name, your company affiliation, citizenship, and phone number.

Abstract: Requirements Engineering for Dependable Systems

This presentation will examine the nature and role of requirements and their impact on the engineering of Dependable Systems.

The development of large, complex software-intensive systems has proven to be a significant and persistent challenge, despite continuing optimism about the chances for success. The experience of government and industry has been less than encouraging, yet the need for new complex systems is ever-increasing. We have had some dramatic failures, yet we still have needs for new and improved systems. When we look at systems that have a need to be highly dependable or even safety-critical, we recognize the urgency in finding solutions---the current situation is clearly untenable. Unfortunately, as we mature our understanding of software development and improve our processes, it seems that the complexity of the systems we want to develop grows almost exponentially. In post-mortem analyses of project failures and ``near-failures", one common root cause that has been identified has been the (mis)treatment of requirements. This result is not surprising since requirements form the foundation of all development. A fragile foundation does not provide a good basis for a sound, dependable system.

This presentation will examine in detail the nature and role of requirements. It will discuss the various types of requirements and their role in development, as well as their impact to system success. The different ways that requirements need to be handled will be analyzed, and recommended techniques for process improvements will be discussed. An overview of traditional approaches will be provided, with an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, a set of common challenges will be presented, together with strategies for how to manage them. Sample challenges include the impact of changing requirements and uncertain operational environments. While the presentation will not specifically address particular approaches to requirements definition (such as tools and techniques), it will characterize classes of these techniques, and provide recommendations for how to select the appropriate ones for projects of interest. The overall goal of the presentation is to enable the attendees to effectively identify and handle requirements in their systems, as well as to implement improvements to their development processes to avoid common pitfalls that have historically plagued projects. The presentation will also assist attendees in identifying risk areas within their projects, and in planning for effective mitigation activities.


Since 1990, Dr. Bail has worked for The MITRE Corporation in McLean VA as a Computer Scientist in the Software Engineering Center (SWEC) . MITRE is a not-for-profit corporation chartered to provide systems engineering services to the U.S. Government agencies, primarily the DoD, the FAA, and the IRS. Within MITRE, the SWEC focuses on supporting various programs with consultation, particularly transitioning emerging technologies into practice.

Dr. Bail's technical areas of focus include dependable software design and assessment, error handling policies, techniques for software specification development, design methodologies, metric definition and application, and verification and validation. At MITRE, Dr. Bail is currently supporting the U.S. Navy, focusing on the practice of software engineering within PEO IWS (Integrated Warfare Systems), particularly as applied to large real-time systems. Prior to 1990, Dr. Bail worked at Intermetrics Inc. in Bethesda MD.

Previously, Dr. Bail taught part-time at The University of Maryland from 1983-1986 in the Computer Science Department for undergraduate courses in discrete mathematics, computer architecture, and programming language theory. Since 1989 he has served as an part-time Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland University College where he develops instructional materials and teaches courses in software engineering, in topics such as Software Requirements, Verification and Validation, Software Design, Software Engineering, Fault Tolerant Software, and others.

Dr. Bail received a BS in Mathematics from Carnegie Institute of Technology, and an MS and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland.


Room 1N100 A/B
The MITRE Corporation
7515 Colshire Drive
McLean, Virginia 22102-7508


MITRE2 is on Colshire Drive just inside the beltway south of Route 123. Colshire Road is known as "Scotts Xing" on the North side of Route 123.

Colshire Road is located on Route 123, East of I-495 and West of the Dulles Access Highway.

  • Going Northbound on 123 from I-495, Colshire Road is located 2 stoplights on the right.
  • Going Southbound on 123 from the Dulles Access Highway, Colshire Road is located at the first stoplight on the left.
Once on Colshire Road, MITRE2 is the building immediately in front of you. A tiny traffic circle is designed to take you to the front of MITRE2 and to MITRE1 (the Hayes Building). The directions below route you to the parking garage behind the MITRE2 Building. This is a logical left-hand turn at the traffic circle. After the turn, MITRE2 will be on your right.

From I-495 south of Route 123 (Dolley Madison Boulevard):

1. Take Exit 46B (McLean, Route 123);
2. Go North onto Route 123;
3. Turn right onto Colshire Drive (at second light);
4. Take third right off of the small traffic circle;
   (a logical left hand turn);
5. Proceed ~ 50 meters; Turn right into parking garage.
6. Visitor Parking is located on Levels 2 and 3
   (the walkway to the lobby is on Parking Level 2)
7. If door is locked, contact Security using phone by door
   (at entrance to MITRE2 from the Parking Garage)
8. Check in with Security at Security desk in lobby
   (You will need a photo ID)

From Dulles Access Toll Road or I-495 north of the Dulles Access Toll Road:

1. Take the Dulles Airport Access and Toll Road to Exit 19;
   (From I-495, this is labeled "To East I-66");
2. Take Exit 19A;
   (following signs to Route 123 South, Tysons Corner);
3. Bear right onto Route 123 (towards Tysons Corner)
4. Turn left onto Colshire Drive (at first light);
5. Take third right off of the small traffic circle;
   (a logical left hand turn);
6. Proceed ~ 50 meters; Turn right into parking garage.
7. Visitor Parking is located on Levels 2 and 3
   (the walkway to the lobby is on Parking Level 2)
8. If door is locked, contact Security using phone by door
   (at entrance to MITRE2 from the Parking Garage)
9. Check in with Security at Security desk in lobby
   (You will need a photo ID)

To obtain a map of MITRE2 Building and the MITRE Campus, visit =>

Slides From Recent Presentations Available:

At the DC/Baltimore SIGAda meeting on 22 August 2005 held joint with the DC ACM Chapter, we viewed the webcast of the ACM Turing Award Lecture. Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn, Recipients of the ACM 2004 Turing Award spoke on Assessing the Internet: Lessons Learned, Strategies for Evolution, and Future Possibilities. The lecture was webcast from ACM SIGCOMM 2005 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ACM has archived the webcast at http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigcomm/sigcomm2005/webcast.html for your viewing pleasure.

Please Put on Your Calendar:

DC/Baltimore SIGAda Home Page and Maillist:

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Please forward this message to people who might be interested in attending. We welcome all new members as our attendance and interests grow.

Many thanks to all earlier participants, contributors, speakers, advisors, and friends, who are involved in helping to produce and attend the meetings.

Currie Colket, DC/Baltimore SIGAda Chapter Webmaster

If you have comments or suggestions, email the DC/Baltimore SIGAda Chapter Webmaster

updated 6 October 2005