“Software is eating the world.” Like oxygen is an essential element for all life forms, software is the invisible yet crucial fabric of our society. There is no aspect of society that is not facilitated or mediated by software, and industry leaders have proclaimed that “every company is now a software company”. Furthermore, software presents an enormous boost to scientific progress, and underlies many of our critical infrastructure (like power, telecom, etc.).

However, the complexity of software continues to increase. The total volume of software is growing at an exponential rate. Software is omnipresent, but it remains extremely difficult to efficiently construct and maintain software, and to guarantee its correctness, reliability, and performance. Europe has been at the forefront with many innovations in software, but is now risking to get behind the curve. The ever growing size and complexity of software urgently requires new techniques and principles to address the software challenges of the future, to safeguard Europe’s autonomy and sovereignty, and protect core values such as privacy, safety, fairness, and inclusiveness.

These problems won’t solve themselves, but require fundamental research. Now is the time for increased funding of software research. To start a conversation and to raise awareness of the importance of software research, we (researchers from France, Finland, and the Netherlands) have written a call-to-arms document, and published it as an online petition. It has already gathered more than 800 signatures from researchers across Europe. If you think Europe needs strong software research too, please sign the petition here: http://tiny.cc/strong-software.

Paris Avgeriou, Marieke Huisman, Jean-Marc Jezequel, Tomi Männistö, Tommi Mikonen, Romain Rouvoy, Alexander Serebrenik, Kari Smolander, Tijs van der Storm, on behalf of the national software engineering associations VERSEN, GDR GPL, and TIVIA.

Next issue: January 2024
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