SIGSOFT Annual Report

July 2009 - June 2010

Submitted by: David Rosenblum, SIGSOFT Chair

SIGSOFT had another excellent year, maintaining the technical excellence and financial health of its conferences despite increasingly difficult economic times, while continuing to reach out to the community, with increased attention given this year to the practitioner community.

The numerous conferences and workshops we sponsor and co-sponsor continue to be strong, both intellectually and financially. Our flagship conference, ESEC/FSE 2009, was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with Hans van Vliet serving as General Chair and Valerie Issarny serving as Program Chair. Our largest conference, ICSE 2010 (co-sponsored with the IEEE Computer Society), was held in Cape Town, South Africa, with Judith Bishop and Jeff Kramer as General Co-Chairs, and Prem Devanbu and Sebastian Uchitel as Program Co-Chairs. The main social event at ICSE was the Awards Banquet, where the SIGSOFT Chair presented several important SIGSOFT awards and recognised the new ACM Distinguished Members and Fellows from the software engineering community.

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, and ESEC/FSE 2011 will be held in Szeged, Hungary, with Tibor Gyimothy as General Chair and Andreas Zeller as Program Chair. Given the increasing number of submissions to FSE and the consequent increased workload for the Program Chair, for FSE 2012 we decided to name two Program Co-Chairs, with Tevfik Bultan and Martin Robillard filling these roles; a General Chair for FSE 2012 is expected to be named soon. ICSE 2011 will be held in Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA, with Richard Taylor as General Chair, and with Harald Gall and Nenad Medvidovic as Program Co-Chairs. Planning is underway as well for ICSE 2012, which will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, with Martin Glinz serving as General Chair, and with Gail Murphy and Mauro Pezze as Program Co-Chairs.

The problems and topics addressed in the papers presented at SIGSOFT meetings remain tremendously varied and timely, with papers on testing and analysis being predominant. This past year saw several papers on new and emerging topics, including several papers presenting important insights that can be gleaned through mining software repositories (such as source code and defect databases), increasing numbers of papers on probabilistic reasoning, and three papers at ICSE 2010 on legal and regulatory issues in software engineering.

The biggest challenge facing SIGSOFT and its membership in the coming years is conference budgeting. Operating and venue costs for conferences are rising, while the funds prospective attendees have for travel to conferences are decreasing. We recently began reducing the contingencies required of our more mature conferences, but more needs to be done. Maintaining financial viability involves an intricate series of tradeoffs among a number of goals that are not always compatible with each other, including, among other things, the desire to keep student registration fees low, to maintain the SIG services fee at an appropriate level to support the provisioning of services by ACM, and to allow SIGSOFT members to enjoy the benefit of our increasing Digital Library revenue.

Among the awards presented at the ICSE 2010 Awards Banquet were our annual service, research and education awards. This year's ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mary Lou Soffa of The University of Virginia. The ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award was presented to a group of recipients this year, the so-called "Gang of Four" responsible for the Design Patterns movement--Erich Gamma of IBM, Richard Helm of BCG, Ralph Johnson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and (posthumously) John Vlissides. As in past years, the awardees will be provided the opportunity to deliver a keynote address at FSE 2010, with Ralph Johnson expected to make the presentation. And now in its second year, the ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award was presented to Leon Osterweil of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who at the Awards Banquet was greeted by the sight of a few dozen of his academic "descendants" standing in his honour. We also continued to present a number of ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards at our sponsored meetings.

For the second year we presented the SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award to recognize a paper published in a SIGSOFT conference at least 10 years earlier that has had exceptional impact on research or practice. The 2009 SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award committee, led by John Knight, selected the paper "Yesterday My Program Worked. Today It Does Not. Why?" by Andreas Zeller, from the Proceedings of ESEC/FSE 1999. The Award was presented at ESEC/FSE 2009 to Andreas, who gave a keynote presentation reflecting on the origins and impact of his paper. We also presented Retrospective Impact Paper Awards to papers from the first 23 years of SIGSOFT's history of conference sponsorship. For the 2009 Retrospective Impact Paper Awards, ACM Fellow Richard Adrion once again chaired the selection committee, which selected the following five papers:

McCabe, T.J. 'A Complexity Measure.' In Proc. Second International Conference on Software Engineering (San Francisco, California, USA, 13-15 October 1976).

Rapps, S., and Weyuker, E.J. 'Data Flow Analysis Techniques for Test Data Selection.' In Proc. Sixth International Conference on Software Engineering (Tokyo, Japan, 13-16 September 1982).

Reiss, S.P.'PECAN: Program Development Systems That Support Multiple Views.' In Proc. Seventh International Conference on Software Engineering (Orlando, Florida, USA, 26-29 March 1984).

Boehm, B.W.'A Spiral Model of Software Development and Enhancement.' In Proc. International Workshop on the Software Process and Software Environments (Coto de Caza, Trabuco Canyon, California, USA, 27-29 March 1985).

Royce, W.W. 'Managing the Development of Large Software Systems: Concepts and Techniques.' In Proc. Ninth International Conference on Software Engineering (Monterey, California, USA, 30 March-2 April 1987).

As in past years, we made dozens of awards totaling around $50,000 to support travel by students to SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences, under our CAPS Conference Attendance Program for Students (CAPS). We also continued to make CAPS awards to undergraduates and provided awards for childcare support at conferences. Regrettably we were unable to identify a suitable recipient this year from the SIGSOFT community for the SIGBED/SIGSOFT Frank Anger Memorial Award, and so we are developing plans to attract more nominees. One incentive we plan to introduce is to identify and assign a host to the awardee at the awardee's chosen conference. This host will be a senior member of the SIGBED community who will welcome the awardee to the conference, introduce him or her to other attendees, and generally try to integrate the awardee into the conference activities. We have suggested to our colleagues in SIGBED that they follow a similar practice for the awardees they send to SIGSOFT conferences.

This past year Will Tracz continued his outstanding service as editor of our newsletter, Software Engineering Notes (SEN). To maintain and increase SEN and SIGSOFT's relevance to the community, Will initiated plans for the dissemination of content through a blog, with Eric Bodden volunteering to manage the blog.

This year a new SIGSOFT Executive Committee (EC) took office, and the new Chair decided to make a more formal delegation of responsibilities for specific activity areas to individual EC members. In accordance with the SIGSOFT Bylaws, Laura Dillon, who was re-elected as Member At Large, was appointed as the new Secretary/Treasurer. Two new Members At Large, Gail Murphy and Joanne Atlee, were assigned responsibility for Awards and Educational Initiatives, respectively. Almost immediately after taking office, Bashar Nuseibeh, the fourth elected Member At Large, decided to resign his position in order to assume the heavy responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. Bashar's departure was a great loss to the EC but also provided an opportunity to appoint a replacement who could serve the role of Practitioner Liaison. Thus, in accordance with the SIGSOFT Bylaws and ACM Policies on SIG governance, Mark Grechanik of Accenture was appointed as the replacement Member At Large. Mark has begun developing initiatives to increase practitioner participation in SIGSOFT's activities, including the creation of discussion groups on two social network sites, Linkedin and Facebook. He also was also instrumental in facilitating significant industrial involvement in a Workshop on the Future of Software Engineering Research to be held at FSE 2010, which helped dramatically increase industrial financial support for the conference.

In addition to the elected members of the EC, SIGSOFT continues to be supported by a cadre of unelected volunteers. Nels Beckman completed several years of dedicated service as our Information Director and turned the reins over in May 2010 to Greg Cooper. Roshanak Roshandel continued her excellent service as our CAPS Coordinator. And Tao Xie continues his role as History Liaison. As a result of the amazing energy and passion Tao has for historical initiatives, he was recently invited onto the ACM History Committee. This year Tao put together a SIGSOFT Chronology, modeled on SIGPLAN's successful Chronology, to document in as much detail and with as much completeness as possible the full history of SIGSOFT, including its officers, conferences and awardees, and its ACM Fellows and Distinguished Members and Turing Award winners. More recently Tao organised a SIGSOFT Community Directory that will soon be made public, allowing people to keep track of the doings of members of the SIGSOFT community. Finally, Tao completed the drafting of a proposal for a SIGSOFT Outstanding Dissertation Award, for which we hope to obtain approval from the ACM Awards committee in the coming year.

As a final note, SIGSOFT enthusiastically supported the successful re-appointment of David Notkin as Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology.