SIGSOFT Annual Report

July 2013 - June 2014

Submitted by: Will Tracz, SIGSOFT Chair

ACM's Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) had another excellent year, both technically and financially in 2013 - 14. This report provides a summary of key SIGSOFT activities over the past year.


SIGSOFT has a large awards program that recognizes the many achievements of the software engineering community (see

Our prestigious service, research and education awards were presented again this year at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2014 in Hyderabad, India. The recipients are as follows:

The ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to: Leon J. Osterweil from the University of Massachusetts, "For promoting and expanding the field of software engineering through visionary leadership of the Impact Project and for bringing the community to China, and China into the community, by organizing ICSE 2006 in Shanghai, as well as sustained editorial, program, and award committee service."

The ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award was presented to Alexander L. Wolf from Imperial College, "For formative work in software architecture, influential research in distributed event - based systems, and important contributions in software deployment, configuration management, and process."

The ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award was presented to Mary Lou Soffa from the University of Virginia "For a sustained record of teaching and mentoring students at all ranks in the field of computing, especially in software engineering, with half of the mentored students being women or minorities."

At ICSE 2014 we also recognized new ACM Senior Members, ACM Distinguished Members and ACM Fellows for 2014 from the SIGSOFT community.

  • The new ACM Senior Members are Punam Bedi, Cormac Flanagan, Cory Plock, Manu Sridharan, Masao Ito, Thomas Zimmermann, and Vicente Ferreira de Lucena Jr.
  • Distinguished Members: André van der Hoek and Gregg E. Rothermel were recognized as new ACM Distinguished Scientists. Owen Astrachan was recogni zed as a Distinguished Educator
  • This year there was only one SIGSOFT member who was named an ACM Fellow - David Garlan of Carnegie Mellon University "For contributions to the development of software architecture as a discipline in software engineering."

The SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award recognizes a paper published in a SIGSOFT conference at least 10 years earlier that has had exceptional impact on research or practice. The 2014 SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award committee, led by Peri Tarr, selected the paper: "Evidence - based Software Engineering" by Barbara A. Kitchenham, Tore Dybå, Magne Jørgensen, from the Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE '04).

This is the second year for the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award for the outstanding PhD dissertations in the field of software engineering. This year's awardee was Jeff Huang for his dissertation "Effective Methods for Debugging Concurrent Software." Huang's research developed new algorithms and tools to make programmers much more productive in finding, understanding, and fixing software bugs that particularly pertain to concurrent programs that simultaneously use multiple cores. Huang completed his Ph.D. at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China, advised by Professor Charles Zhang.

Many of our sponsored meetings this year also presented ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards to the authors of a select number of their accepted papers. The awardees are listed in next section.


The problems and topics addressed in the papers presented at SIGSOFT meetings remain varied and timely. Software engineering researchers are increasing their application of techniques borrowed from other areas of computer science, particularly virtualization, mobile computing, and human/computer interac tion. The acceptance rates have been around the 20 - 25% range with SIGSOFT Distinguished paper awards ratio being up to 1 award for every 10 accepted papers. ESEC/FSE had 251 submissions with 51 papers accepted (20%) but there were no Distinguished Paper Awards. ICSE had 499 submission with 99 papers accepted (20%) that resulted in ten Distinguished Papers Awards, of which the following provided innovative insights.

  • Cowboys, Ankle Sprains, and Keepers of Quality: How is Video Game Development Different fro m Software Development? by Emerson Murphy-Hill, Thomas Zimmermann, and Nachiappan Nagappan
  • Characterizing and Detecting Performance Bugs for Smartphone Applications by Yepang Liu, Chang Xu, and Shing-Chi Cheung
  • Improving Automated Source Code Summarization via an Eye - Tracking Study of Programmers by Paige Rodeghero, Collin McMillan, Paul W. McBurney, Nigel Bosch, and Sidney D'Mello
  • Unit Test Virtualization with VMVM by Jonathan Bell and Gail Kaiser
  • Coverage Is Not Strongly Correlated with Test Suite Effectiveness by Laura Inozemtseva and Reid Holmes

ISSTA had three Distinguished Paper Awards based on 124 submissions with 32 accepted (26%).


SIGSOFT has two software engineering education programs - one targeted toward students and the seconded focused on educators. Students receive discounted membership rates and registration fees at all SIGSOFT - sponsored conferences and workshops. In addition, our two flagship conferences: ICSE and ESEC/FSE offer a Doctoral Symposium where students are mentored by experienced Software Engineering professors. Also, SIGSOFT provides travel support to SIGSOFT sponsored or co-sponsored conferences or workshops for graduate and undergraduate students who are SIGSOFT members through the Conference Aid Program for Students (CAPS) - Attendance at conferences and workshops to present papers and to interact with researchers and practitioners in software engineering is an important component of students' education and professional development. Moreover, students' presence at conferences and workshops enriches and broadens conference and workshop activities. Conferences and workshops are also a good way to introduce students to the services of SIGSOFT. In FY 2014 over $70K of grants were given to 71 graduate and 6 undergraduate students (out of 131 requests).

SIGSOFT holds Software Engineering Educators Symposium (SEES) in non ESEC/FSE years. It consists of two half-day tutorials covering approaches for teaching programming and software engineering to undergraduates. Symposium participants are provided access to instructional materials, receive practical tips on how to successfully apply the approaches, and learned about tools that support hands - on instruction and active learning. ACM SIGSOFT is providing funding for this year's FSE in Hong Kong.


This year we expanded the Award Nomination Submission web site to handle all award submissions and evaluations. In addition we "normalized" all awards so that there is a single submission deadline. The use of the website proved very beneficial and it will be cloned and expanded to handle SEN submissions in 2015.

Another innovation is the SIGSOFT Webinar Series, which will be open to the general software engineering community. Webinars will be based on the Future of Software Engineering Track at ICSE 2014. Kevin Sullivan at the University of Virginia is leading this effort.

Finally, jointly used by SIGSOFT/SIGPLAN tool, PCMiner was made available all SIGS at the SGB meeting. Program chairs can used it to identify suitable candidates to serve on their program committees. Steering committees can use it to identify suitable candidates to serve as program chair or general chair.

Broadening Participation Events/Program

In order to increase participation in SIGSOFT-sponsored events and increase/retain membership, we:

  • Raised/Lowered SIGSOFT Membership fees by creating an electronic-only category of membership.
  • Explored conference profit sharing as a means to reduce conference registration fees
  • Proposed to ACM reduced conference registration fees for retired SIGSOFT members
  • Increased CAPS support funding by $10K to provide additional travel assistance for student conference attendance
  • Created six issues of SEN with over 100 papers, columns, and book reviews being added to the Digital Library. Our publication policy increases early dissemination of research and our mentoring process on editing submissions helps new authors develop better communication skills.


Challenges for the years to come include:

  • Increasing the number of award nominations
  • Reducing conference/workshop registration fees
  • Providing more resources to practitioners
  • Increasing use of social media
  • Increasing volunteer involvement and development.