SIGSOFT Annual Report

July, 1998 - June, 1999

Submitted by: David Notkin, SIGSOFT Chair

SIGSOFT has had another strong year.

On the awards front, we continued to make our annual service and research awards. This year's ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to Bill Riddle, who has served the software engineering community in innumerable ways (including serving as chair of SIGSOFT a number of years ago). This year we awarded two Outstanding Research Awards. The first went, in a one-time posthumous award, to Harlan Mills. The presentation was made to his widow at the Harlan Mills memorial workshop, which was held at the 1999 International Conference on Software Engineering in Los Angeles. The second went to Niklaus Wirth and will be presented in Toulouse, France, at the ESEC/FSE joint conference in September. Joint with IEEE TCSE, we also continued to award the Most Influential Paper from ICSE N-10, which this year went to the ICSE-11 paper "The Inscape Environment", authored by Dewayne Perry. We made several awards to students for travel support to SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences, under our CAPS program. Several of the new ACM Fellows are members of SIGSOFT, a fact that is very rewarding.

We have two specific issues with respect to awards that need to be handled. One, several years ago the SIGSOFT Executive Committee agreed to have Program Committees name up to 10% of the papers from conferences as Distinguished Papers; we have, however, never put this decision into action. We plan to do so this year, also understanding that we need to clear this through the ACM awards committee. And two, we need to make the award nomination process more visible and active. We plan to do this by advertising in SEN and other appropriate venues.

We have been involved this year in a number of significant and innovative programs.

  • We have been closely involved with ACM HQ in the issues surrounding software engineering as a profession. This is an extremely complicated and visible issue that the entire community is struggling with. ACM has taken a position that is proactive with respect to R&D in software, to developing a core body of knowledge for software engineering, and for identifying standards of practice. At the same time, the ACM has taken a position against the licensing of software engineers, because such licensing would be premature and ineffective. The blue ribbon panel that advised the ACM Council was divided on these issues and, indeed, the SIGSOFT leadership and membership are divided on these issues. However, we feel uniformly that the public discussion of these important issues continues to be in the interest of society and the software engineering community.
  • Our major conferences (Foundations of Software Engineering, the International Conference on Software Testing and Analysis, and the International Conference on Software Engineering) continue to be strong. FSE 1998 was held in Orlando, with a leadership team of Lee Osterweil (general chair), Bill Scherlis (program chair), and Will Tracz (local arrangements). ICSE 1999 was held in Los Angeles with a leadership team of Barry Boehm (general chair) and David Garlan and Jeff Kramer (program co-chairs). Both programs were highly successful; financially, FSE showed a solid profit but ICSE lost money for the first time in over a decade. (SIGSOFT has 50% responsibility for ICSE when held in North America, with the IEEE CS taking the other half.) We will work closely with the Steering Committee and the organizers of future ICSEs to ensure that we don't lose money again in the future.

    FSE 2000 will be in San Diego, with John Knight as general chair and David Rosenblum as program chair. We are currently negotiating a Joint Sponsorship Agreement with ESEC (the European Software Engineering Conference); if successful, we will commit to three more joint conferences with ESEC in 2001, 2003, and 2005, all in Europe.

    ICSE 2000 will be in Limerick Ireland (Carlo Ghezzi is the general chair, Alex Wolf and Mehdi Jazayeri are the program co-chairs, and Kevin Ryan is the local arrangements chair). ICSE 2001 will be in Toronto, with Hausi Mueller as general chair and Mary Jean Harrold and Wilhelm Schaefer as program co-chairs. ICSE 2002 will almost certainly be in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with Will Tracz as general chair with Jeff Magee and Michal Young as program co-chairs.

  • To work to continue strengthening our ties with SIGPLAN, we are holding the second PASTE workshop (Program Analysis for Software Tools and Engineering) jointly with SIGPLAN, with the workshop collocated with ESEC/FSE 99 in France. We are now identifying a set of SIGSOFT and SIGPLAN conferences that we will set up for ongoing in-cooperation-with status.
  • SIGSOFT, along with three other SIGs (CHI, GROUP, and MOD), co-sponsored WACC '99, the International Joint Conference on Work Activities and Coordination and Collaboration. The conference was successful and discussions about a second one, probably held in Europe, are ongoing. Dick Taylor led the team as general chair, with a set of four program chairs, one from each SIG.
  • Will Tracz, with an ever-growing cadre of volunteers, has continued to make our newsletter, SEN, stronger and stronger. With new columns, new blood, and lots of energy, SEN is a great member benefit for SIGSOFT.
  • SIGSOFT was invited to make a showcase presentation at the ACM Council meeting in May 1999, only the third SIG to do so.
  • We are working with the publications board and staff to ensure an orderly transition of the editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, when Axel van Lamsweerde's second term completes at the end of 2000. As always, we are working to ensure that we will get an absolutely first-rate researcher and leader to help maintain TOSEM's quality and reputation.

One major goal in the next year is to simultaneously increase interactions with other SIGS while also trying to regularize our conferences and conference schedule. Another major goal, which we share with other SIGs and the ACM overall, is to continue to try to understand what value we should provide to our members to ensure that SIGSOFT is an organization that people want to be members of.