International Perspectives on Software Engineering

International Perspectives on Software Engineering

The timing of writing this chapter is significant. It is written after the Internet bubble burst and after the world experienced two events that dramatically influenced the high-tech economy ”the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, and the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in Asia. In this spirit, this chapter illustrates how the global high-tech industry is in fact one worldwide market. We start by showing how the September 11 terror attack and the SARS outbreak influenced the high-tech economy far beyond the regions where they happened . In both cases, the international markets in general and the high-tech markets in particular suffered.

On September 11, 2001, the United States experienced a terrorist attack. That day is described in terms such as tragedy and disaster. Naturally, our discussion is limited to the influence of that day on the high-tech economy. Any such event leads to a chain of behaviors, each of which increases the negative influence of the event. In the case of September 11, people tended to fly less than they did before, purchases were reduced, and the entire economy slowed.

The September 11 terrorist attack raised many questions about computer network security and other channels of information sharing. Some companies took advantage of this failure in information gathering and the increased need for protecting information. In addition, the need has emerged for tools to analyze the gathered information. This fact illustrates that even disasters can promote the development of technology and open business opportunity.

SARS is a disease that makes it difficult to breathe. In contrast to a bad cold, it can kill people if it is not treated quickly. It is suspected to have originated in Guangdong, China, in November 2002. However, China was not the only country that suffered from SARS; other places, such as Singapore and Canada, also had many cases of SARS. As it turns out, SARS dramatically influenced the high-tech economy (which was going through a deep recession in those days anyway), mainly because people were afraid to travel to those regions. Consequently, during the outbreak, many companies canceled any non-mission-critical business travel to Asia.

The influence of SARS was dramatic, since Asia is one of the fastest -growing regions in the world today. Furthermore, many companies outsource their manufacturing to China because of the perceived lower cost, high quality, and dependability . Following the SARS epidemic, companies started reexamining their outsourcing plans in general and whether they could put all their high-tech risks in the China basket in particular.


  1. Both September 11 and SARS influenced the high-tech economy negatively. Suggest events that may have a positive influence on the high-tech economy.

  2. Among other factors that influenced the high-tech market globally, we find the new browsers that emerged in the early 1990s and enabled each person to surf the Web easily without having any technical background. In addition, new e-commerce Web sites enabled trading between countries without borders and tax limitations. Suggest additional ways by which the Web may influence the world globally. Refer to different areas of influence (medicine, education, etc.).

  3. Look at Web sites that present Internet statistics and find data about the number of people who have Internet access in different places on the globe. What do these numbers reflect with respect to the global economy?

  4. Linux and other Open Source software are concepts that have been mutually influenced by the global high-tech networking. How have these concepts been influenced by the fact that the globe became one online village? Look for information about the evolution of these concepts.