In the words of the web’s pioneer Marc Andreessen, “software is eating the world”. Ever more products, services, and entire industries, existing ones as well as new, are running on software. The main technological trends for future software development and its challenges will define where investments, for example through Horizon 2020 (H2020), will be useful and efficient. This study report on the research priorities for software technologies, gives an analysis of this area and its emerging issues.

Final report - cover page

In the light of the preparations for the next Horizon 2020 work programme and beyond, it was advantageous to have first a deeper analysis of the trends for future software developments that will influence the way we develop software in the next 5-7 years. The continuous development of applications, computing systems, infrastructure etc. will require that software technologies are supported continuously, not only incidentally.

According to the report, the need for targeted research in software engineering is prompted by developments in three broad areas. First, the computing landscape is changing from top to bottom. Second, seven software-driven vertical application domains are reshaping entire industries and society as a whole. Third, the computing landscape’s technological trends and the changes in the vertical application domains, give rise to several critical crosscutting software engineering challenges.

This report presents different technological and scientific trends in software development (as cloud computing, big data) and analyses the effects in vertical application domains (like autonomous vehicles). It sums up the resulting crosscutting challenges and gives examples of targeted research on the international level. The author concludes with recommendations for targeted research investments in software engineering research.