[SIGCIS-Members] New Book on Software History

Tracy, Kim tracy at rose-hulman.edu
Mon Oct 4 11:06:43 PDT 2021


I’m pleased announce my book on software history has been published with ACM Books.  It is titled Software: A Technical History and is a textbook for students of computing to understand the history of software.  If you have access to the ACM Digital Library (DL), then you likely already have free access to it: https://dl.acm.org/doi/book/10.1145/3477339.  It is also available via Amazon<https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/145038725X/> and Barnes and Noble<https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/software-kim-w-tracy/1140205842?ean=9781450387255>.   It’s only $34.95 as a paperback, but I’m hoping most students studying computing will have free access through their institution’s ACM DL subscription.

I wrote the book because I started teaching the history of computation as a special topics course and it became clear to me that much of the most important part, software, was barely covered in most texts from a technical point of view.  I began developing my own materials and it became clear that not only was this material not covered in most curricula, it was becoming increasingly important as students build on layers of pre-existing software without much understanding of how it was built or its design assumptions.   Students studying computer security are faced with these layers of pre-existing software that are often put to unpredicted uses which exposes new vulnerabilities.  An intent is that students will be able to better reason about software as a technology and better predict where it is going, why it succeeds, and why it fails.    I include as many exercises as I could so that students can explore interesting corners of software history that I couldn’t cover in the book.

I’d appreciate any feedback on it, and, of course, any Amazon or Barnes and Noble reviews you’d be willing to write.

SIGCIS has helped provide a lot of interesting examples over the years, some of which you may recognize as exercises. . . .


Kim W. Tracy
Visiting Asst. Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering
(pronouns: he, him)
5500 Wabash Avenue  |  Terre Haute,  IN  47803-3999
Room: Moench D216   | tracy at rose-hulman.edu<mailto:tracy at rose-hulman.edu>
Phone:  812.877.8343  |  Fax:  812.872.6060

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