Campus: CSU Northridge -- February 22, 2002

CSUN Professor Receives Patent for Software Design Method that Creates Reusable Components

Cal State Northridge computer science professor Shan Barkataki has received a patent from the U.S. government for a software design that includes reusable components for use in the aerospace and defense industry.

Barkataki said that while he is pleased to receive the patent, he is more proud of what it represents.

"The development of the method was the result of a collaboration between me and my colleagues at Northrop-Grumman," he said. "It's critical that we increase the collaboration between the university and local industry. A lot of great things can grow out of this. The patent shows that collaboration works."

Diane Schwartz, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said that faculty like Barkataki exemplify the best of her college.

"Every day, faculty and students contribute to the development of cutting edge technology that has practical applications," Schwartz said. "We are proud of the accomplishments of faculty like professor Barkataki, who not only impact industry, but make lasting impressions on their students. These achievements are more gratifying when they involve the collaboration of corporate partners like Northrop-Grumman, and we look forward to future developments."
Barkataki said it took more than three years to get the patent for his method of creating and using system independent software components.

He said the idea for the method came while he was working with colleagues at Northrop-Grumman designing software for air-defense systems. The design team was challenged to come up with a product that would go beyond the immediate task of building a specific air defense system.

"The team met that challenge by devising an innovative method for creating highly reusable software," Barkataki said.

Barkataki explained that modern software is designed in small pieces, called components, which are assembled into large complex systems, "much like a builder makes a house using many small parts that snugly fit together."

"When constructing a house, the builder can 'reuse' parts and designs created earlier - roof structure, electrical systems, plumbing systems," he said. "In contrast, the parts used in building software systems tend to be custom designed for a specific system. Components created for one system do not fit snugly in another. Given that making software is very expensive, there is strong incentive to build components that can be reused in many systems with ease."

That is just what Barkataki and his colleagues at Northrop-Grumman did. They devised an innovative method for creating reusable software components used in aerospace and defense systems.

Barkataki now teaches that method to students in his computer science classes at Cal State Northridge, and it currently is being used by engineers and computer scientists at Northrop-Grumman.

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