Wing: software in big trouble

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Remarks by Jeannette Wing, head of the CS department at Carnegie Mellon, posted last week at

Wing sees her job as making esoteric research issues real, immediate and relevant to users. “Today in security, we are patching systems and fighting viruses and worms and doing source code analysis using techniques that the basic research community invented 20 years ago, or even longer than that,” she said.

Consequently, users “are basically putting Band-Aids on our software and trying to build better intrusion-detection systems,” said Wing, while the basic research needed to protect against future threats isn’t being done.

Dr. Wing is set to take over NSF’s computing research spending on July 1. The NSF funds 87% of all federally funded CS research out of a budget that runs a paltry $530M.


  1. Actually, the article gets the NSF factoid a little wrong. NSF supports 87 percent of federal obligations for *fundamental* computer science research at academic institutions…not all federally funded CS research. The reporter got it right in this column though.

  2. Peter: Welcome! Thanks for the clarification, and for the great work you guys are doing over at the CRA Policy blog, from which I quote liberally. Without you guys keeping up with Congressional actions related to computing would be a real bear.