European software researchers sound the alarm – CWI Amsterdam


Software researchers across Europe are sounding the alarm: in order to maintain a strong international competitive position, more financial resources must be devoted to software research. Only then can the necessary innovations be realized. To strengthen their appeal, a petition has been signed more than 800 times by top researchers, industry leaders and software experts from across Europe. The petition “Europe needs solid software research” was presented to representatives of (European) politics, industry and the Dutch research funding body NWO.

Software, like oxygen, is an invisible but essential element for all forms of life. It is a driving force behind the world we live in. There is hardly any aspect of the company that is not made easier by software. The majority of businesses today are driven by software. This makes it all the more striking that software research investments in the Netherlands and Europe are lagging behind influential technology countries such as China and the United States.

Software researcher Tijs van der Storm (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, RuG) is contributing to the petition on behalf of VERSEN, the association for software engineering research in the Netherlands. Van der Storm: “Software advances many fields of science, such as AI, data and engineering. It is the basis of our critical infrastructure and systems such as energy, telecommunications, aviation and financial services. If Europe is to keep up with the world in these areas, we must soon invest heavily in software research. “

The amount of software is huge and growing exponentially. However, there is a stark contrast between the ubiquity of software in today’s society and the extraordinary difficulty of ensuring the reliability, security and durability of modern software systems. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovations in the field of software engineering. Fostering this requires fundamental software research, beyond specific application areas such as AI, IoT and quantum computing.

According to the researchers, Europe has the expertise to deliver such innovations. It is home to some of the most talented software researchers in universities, research institutes and R&D departments. However, the research community does not have the resources to initiate basic research and public-private partnerships between industry and knowledge institutions. Europe therefore runs the risk of becoming a second-hand user of innovations developed elsewhere (in particular by major technologies from the United States and Asia). This affects the competitive position of Europe as software is the main differentiator and added value for products and services.

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