Tuesday, September 18, 2007

[Event] European Software Engineering Conference (ESEC)

From August 5 to 7 the European Software Engineering Conference (ESEC) 2008 took place in Croatia, Dubrovnik. An important feature of the conference, besides presentation and discussion of academic papers, were "state of the art" presentations on research topics that are particularly relevant for industry and Best Software Engineering Practices (Slides are online). In this Blog article I review some interesting presentations from the conference:

1. Software Engineering Research on Test Prioritization (Elaine Weyuker, AT&T Labs Research, USA)

This talk provided a case study on research on software testing prioritization (prediction of location of faults in the next release of large industrial software systems) from problem inception to algorithm definition and small proof-of-concept studies, large empirical studies in several industry contexts, and finally tool building to automate the process and make it easily accessible to practitioners.

Particularly interesting aspects were:
  1. how to get industry to take part in research activities;
  2. how to package research results in a way that is useful to practitioners, and
  3. fosters academic discussions.
2. On Marrying Ontology and Software Technology (Steffen Staab, U. Koblenz, Germany)

Software engineering models for purposes such as software design, software configuration or software validation can be augmented with Ontologies, which constitute domain models formalized using expressive logic languages for class definitions and rules.

This talk gave an outline of current ontology technologies and described avenues of research for joining ontology and software technology, i.e.
  1. by increasing the expressiveness of software design models through ontologies,
  2. by improving accessability and maintainability of software configurations, and,
  3. by validating software design models using ontology reasoning.

3. Quantitative Verification: Models, Techniques and Tools (Marta Kwiatkowska; Oxford U., England)

The talk addressed modeling and simulation of the usage of critical resources in model-driven engineering for complex software systems. While software modelling and analysis techniques such as testing, static analysis, model checking, and run-time monitoring are used routinely in the software engineering practice, quantitative verification techniques are needed to establish properties such as "the chance of battery power dropping below minimum is less than 0.01" and "the worst-case time to receive a response from a sensor is 5ms".

The talk gave an overview on state-of-the-art methods and tool support for probabilistic model checking for quantitative verification of systems which exhibit probabilistic behaviour.

4. Free/Open Source Software Development: Recent Research Results and Opportunities (Walt Scacchi; U. Irvine; USA)

The talk reviewed what is known about free and open source software development (FOSSD) work practices, development processes, project and community dynamics, and other socio-technical relationships. It explored how FOSS is developed and evolved based on an extensive review of a set of empirical studies of FOSSD projects:
  1. why individuals participate;
  2. resources and capabilities supporting development activities;
  3. how cooperation, coordination, and control are realized in projects;
  4. alliance formation and inter-project social networking;
  5. FOSS as a multi-project software ecosystem, and
  6. FOSS as a social movement.
Identifying emerging opportunities for future FOSSD studies gave rise to the development of new software engineering tools or techniques, as well as to new empirical studies of software development.

Stefan Biffl (edited by Alexander Schatten)

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