Ram Chillarege



Dr. Ram Chillarege's engineering lifetime is defined by his pursuit to use semantics and quantitative methods to reason about the software engineering process, product, and people. Orthogonal Defect Classification (ODC), his invention, was a break through that increase the speed of root cause analysis by two orders of magnitude. He has authored ~50 peer reviewed articles and is an IEEE Fellow. He received the IEEE Technical Achievement Award and the IEEE Meritorius service award. He founded and ran the IBM Center for Software Engineering at the T.J. Watson Research Center, and has chaired the IEEE Steering committee for Software Reliability Engineering for the past decade. His consulting practice reaches several Fortune 500 companies in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Technical & Personal Accomplishments

1. Software Fault Injection: Ram created the notion of Software Fault Injection (circa 1987, IEEE) which created a new area of research in software dependability, reliability and security. The area blossomed with numerous PhD thesis and several tenured faculty. Today, you will see ideas of software fault injection in several software security tools and consulting methodologies.

2. Orthogonal Defect Classification (ODC, circa 1989, IEEE) is Ram’s signature invention. This is a deep concept that uses semantic extraction from software repositories to creates a measurement systems for abstract processes such as design and test. ODC changed how root cause analysis is performed on these software processes yielding speed ups of 100X and more.  ODC to software dignosis is like and an MRI is to medicine - it creates imaging of what is hidden. A few Fortune 500 corporations reported savings upwards of $100M, thanks to ODC.  In the past decade, several academics have begun extending ODC into other areas such as security.  It is interesting to note the parallels of “big data” with what ODC began years ago.

3. Research and Software Industry: Ram has devoted much of his professional life to bring advanced techniques into the mainstream of software engineering. At IBM he helped create a network across 50,000 software developers and testers to begin using advanced software measurement methods. This channel was new in IBM research to build bridges with mainstream development at a scale and impact never seen before.  Since 2005, Ram helped the IEEE Software Reliability community with similar ideas. Today, the IEEE ISSRE conference is ranked in the top tier, boasting a unique accomplishment of a 50-50 participation between researchers and industry. This is a unique accomplishment among the highly reputed IEEE/ACM conference.

4. Primary Education, India: Ram believes that the best education a child can receive is in his/her vernacular. However, in India, this is in conflict with the current practice where the desire for English language education is dominant. The well to do attend English medium schools and the less fortunate, vernacular state supported schools. As a consequence the people lose. In the long term, the country loses. Twenty years ago, he created a project to test this theory. A magnet school with better English education at a vernacular Kannada primary school in Udupi, India. In the years that followed, this school trippled in size, as other vernacular schools in the same town faded. The children wrote us of their success, and Ram’s belief is now stronger than before. A new version of this project has just begun, called Language Empowerment Across People (LEAP), to take this idea beyond these borders.

5. Analytical Software Engineering Consulting: The jouney to bring sophisticated software engineering into a development organization has built a family of client companies around the world. We work with a few, but work deep and work long to earn your trust. We have taught ODC to thousands of engineers in the US, Europe and Asia. And ODC analysis has created insight into hundred of projects, helping them transform and gain value they had never imagined.