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Licensure of certain software engineers in the United States will be required in at least 10 states by 2013 and, likely, by all US states and jurisdictions within a few years. States license engineers to ensure that those who offer services directly to the public are minimally competent. But what kinds of software systems affect the health, safety and welfare of the public? Which software engineers will need to be licensed? The answers to these two questions are both a matter of law and of science. This paper introduces some of the scientific aspects of these two questions from the perspective of reliability engineering and suggests new research directions to help answer these questions.