SIGSOFT Annual Report

July 2008 - June 2009

Submitted by: Alexander Wolf, SIGSOFT Chair

SIGSOFT had an excellent year, maintaining the success of its conferences during difficult economic times, while continuing to reach out to the community in many dimensions.

Our major conferences continue to be strong - in attendance, sound finances, and intellectual vibrancy. FSE 2008 was held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in November, with Gail Murphy serving as Program Chair and Mary Jean Harrold serving as General Chair. ICSE 2009 was held in Vancouver, Canada, with Stephen Fickas as General Chair, and Paola Inverardi and Joanne Atlee as Program co-Chairs. Both events featured SIGSOFT's successful "Town Hall Meeting" format whereby we open the floor to an open discussion on the issues of the day, while those present relax with refreshments.

FSE 2009 will be held jointly with ESEC 2009 (the European Software Engineering Conference) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, held in late August. Hans van Vliet will be the General Chair and Valerie Issarny the Program Chair. FSE 2010 will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, with Catalin Roman as General Chair and Andre van der Hoek as Program Chair. ICSE 2010 will be held in Cape Town, South Africa. Jeff Kramer and Judith Bishop are the General Chairs, with Premukar Devanbu and Sebastian Uchitel as the Program Chairs. ICSE 2011 will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, with Richard Taylor as General Chair, and Harald Gall and Nenad Medvidovic as Program co-Chairs.

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 Stuart Zweben of The University of Ohio. We awarded the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award to Richard Taylor of UC Irvine. The awards were presented to the recipients at ICSE 2009 in Vancouver. Dr. Taylor will also give a keynote address at the upcoming ESEC/FSE 2009 in Amsterdam. We made a number of ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper awards across our many sponsored conferences.

In mid-2008 ACM approved the new SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award to recognize papers published in SIGSOFT conferences at least 10 years earlier that have had exceptional impact on research or practice. Last year we made our first round of awards. The 2008 SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award committee, led by ACM Fellow Carlo Ghezzi, recognized "A Design Framework for Internet-Scale Event Observation and Notification" from the 5th ESEC/FSE (1997), co-authored by Alex Wolf and David Rosenblum. ACM Fellow Richard Adrion headed up the 2008 Retrospective Impact Award committee, which is looking far beyond 10 years to the early days of SIGSOFT in search of up to 23 early high-impact papers over the next five years. His committee recognized these papers:

  • Harel, D., Lachover, H., Naamad, A., Pnueli, A., Politi, M., Sherman, R., and Shtul-Trauring, A. STATEMATE: a working environment for the development of complex reactive systems. In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Software Engineering (Singapore, April 11 - 15, 1988).
  • Ungar, D. Generation Scavenging: A non-disruptive high performance storage reclamation algorithm. SIGPLAN Not. 19, 5 -- ACM SIGSOFT/SIGPLAN software engineering symposium on Practical software development environments, (May. 1984), 157-167.
  • Parnas, D. L., Clements, P. C., and Weiss, D. M. The modular structure of complex systems. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Software Engineering (Orlando, Florida, United States, March 26 - 29, 1984).
  • Weiser, M. Program slicing. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Software Engineering (San Diego, California, United States, March 09 - 12, 1981).
  • Liskov, B., Snyder, A., Atkinson, R., and Schaffert, C. Abstraction mechanisms in CLU. In Proceedings of An ACM Conference on Language Design For Reliable Software (Raleigh, North Carolina, March 28 - 30, 1977). D. B. Wortman, Ed., 140.
  • We continue to expand our conference attendance awards, both in budget and scope. The joint SIGSOFT-SIGBED Frank Anger student travel award's most recent award from the SIGSOFT side went to Basil Becker of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering (HPI) at the University of Potsdam. We made dozens of awards to students for travel support to SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences, under our CAPS (Conference Attendance Program for Students), for which our budget approached $40,000, increasing the size of the awards to reflect increasing travel costs, as well as focusing on first-time attendees, those in need. This year we expanded CAPS to include undergraduates as well. This year we also extended our conference attendance programs to childcare at conferences. At FSE we contracted with KiddieCorp to provide onsite care, but in general we provide for the travel of a caregiver to accompany the conference attendee and his/her child. This program is open to all attendees.

New for this year was our SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award. The 2009 award was made to Laurie Williams of North Carolina State University for her work on the use of pair programming in programming pedagogy, among other contributions. We also made a one-time posthumous award to A. Nico Habermann for his contributions in graduating so many influential Ph.D. students, including many who have gone on to continue his legacy as an inspiring Ph.D. advisor.

As part of our international outreach efforts, we co-supported a special session at the annual India Software Engineering Conference. This session features presentations of ICSE and FSE from the previous year that won ACM Distinguished Paper Awards. The authors of the winning papers are flown to India to re-present their papers. This has been highly successful, being lauded by both the ISEC organizers as well as the ICSE and FSE authors who have flown to the conference. We plan to continue supporting this effort in the future.

Will Tracz has continued to make our newsletter, SEN, stronger and better as we move into the digital era. Because the SEN is produced in two versions, online and a print "tip of the iceberg" summary (including RISKS), production is complicated and time consuming. To this end, Will has been working with a group of undergraduates at the Rochester Institute of Technology to develop a content management system that can handle the unique work flow to produce these two documents. The system is expected to be ready in the coming year.

SIGSOFT adopted revised updated bylaws this year. The most significant changes are that (a) the term of the elected executive committee has been increased from two to three years, and (b) the number of at-large members has been increased by one and the Secretary/Treasurer position is now appointed from the at-large members.

SIGSOFT is working to help our conferences more, especially as we see conference costs rising. In the coming year we will be showing more flexibility in budgeting for those sponsored conferences that minimize the risks of a financial loss, while at the same time striving to meet the goals of SIGSOFT, such as holding down student registration fees. Our plan is to help our sponsored conferences subsidizing student registration fees from our budget, rather than the traditional method of increasing registration fees for regular registrants, which has proven unsustainable.

SIGSOFT has a new incoming committee this year, chaired by David Rosenblum. For the coming year, among other initiatives, he has stated a specific interest in reaching out to practitioners, and he plans to appoint a practitioner liaison as well as a practitioner advisory board, to be chaired by the new liaison. Another goal is to institute a dissertation award to recognize the great research of our graduating PhDs.