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NASA's Advanced Multimission Operations System: A Case Study in Software Architecture Evolution

Jeffrey M. Barnes.

In Proceedings of the International ACM SIGSOFT Conference on the Quality of Software Architectures 2012, Bertinoro, Italy, 25-28 June 2012.

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Virtually all software systems of significant size and longevity eventually undergo changes to their basic architectural structure. Such changes may be prompted by new feature requests, new quality attribute requirements, changing technology, or other reasons. Whatever the cause, software architecture evolution is commonplace in real-world software projects. However, research in this area has suffered from problems of validation; previous work has tended to make heavy use of toy examples and hypothetical scenarios and has not been well supported by real-world examples. To help address this problem, this paper presents a case study of an ongoing effort at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to rearchitect the Advanced Multimission Operations System used to operate NASA’s deep-space and astrophysics missions. Based on examination of project documents and interviews with project personnel, I describe the goals and approach of this evolution effort, then demonstrate how approaches and formal methods from previous research in architecture evolution may be applied to this evolution while using languages and tools already in place at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Keywords: Architecture Evolution.  
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