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IEEE's Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-Intensive Systems becomes an American National Standard

Basil Sherlund, Architecture Working Group (AWG) Chair
Rich Hilliard, AWG Secretary and Editor
David Emery, AWG Liaison

For Release: Immediate

(7 August 2001) The ANSI Board of Standards Review (BSR) has approved IEEE's Recommended Practice for Architectural Description of Software-Intensive Systems as an American National Standard. BSR took this action 2 August 2001. The standard is designated ANSI/IEEE Std 1471-2000.

The IEEE Architecture Working Group (AWG) developed ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 under the sponsorship of the IEEE Software Engineering Standards Committee (SESC). The recommended practice was produced between 1995 and 1998 by a group of approximately thirty participants with the support of over 140 international reviewers. Developed in response to the recent, widespread interest in software architecture, the scope of ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 is software-intensive systems—systems where software plays a critical role in system development, operation, or evolution. This encompasses software applications, information systems, embedded systems, systems-of-systems, product lines and product families.

ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 establishes a conceptual framework for architectural thinking, codifying current best practices and insights of both the systems and software engineering communities. To date, there has been a virtual "Tower of Babel" in architectural thinking. Architectural practices, including architecture description languages, architectural methods and analysis techniques, and architecting methods are rapidly evolving; the conceptual framework of ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 provides a basis on which these diverse architectural practices may be defined, contrasted, consistently applied and evolved.

ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 defines a set of 'content requirements" on architectural descriptions (ADs): documents produced to describe a software system's architecture. These content requirements may be applied within the context of an organization's existing methods and processes, tools and techniques. Already, organizations—including tool vendors, consulting architects, and other standards bodies—are applying ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 to their architecture offerings. In ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 architectural descriptions are organized into views to meet the needs of a system's diverse stakeholders. Each view has an underlying viewpoint identifying a set of architectural concerns and specifying how the architectural description meets those concerns, using languages and notations, models, analytical techniques and methods. Organizations may define and select their own set of useful viewpoints. Through its informative annexes, the recommended practice provides example definitions of viewpoints to demonstrate the use of ANSI/IEEE Std 1471 with other standards: IEEE/EIA 12207, Software Life Cycle Processes and ISO/IEC 10746, Reference Model for Open Distributed Processing.

ANSI/IEEE Std 1471-2000 is available through IEEE Customer Service (+1-800-678-IEEE), on-line from IEEE or from
For more information about ANSI/IEEE Std 1471, visit the IEEE 1471 website.

Copyright © 2001 by IEEE

(Modified: 7 August 2001)
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