SIGSOFT Annual Report

July 2014 - June 2015

Submitted by: Will Tracz, Past Chair

ACM's Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) had another excellent year, both technically and financially in 2014 - 15. 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 home page for the most recent awardees

Our prestigious service, research and education awards were presented again this year at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2015 in Florence, Italy. The recipients are as follows:

  • The ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to: Bashar Nuseibeh from The Open University and Lero - The Irish Software Research Centre, "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 Carlo Ghezzi from DEIB, Politecnico di Milano, "For key service contributions to the software engineering community, including major editorial responsibilities in top journals and successful chairing of major technical events."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award was presented to Barbara Ryder from the Virginia Tech "For significant contributions in software engineering education, graduate student and faculty mentoring and efforts to improve the representation of women."
  • At ICSE 2015 we also recognized new ACM Senior Members, ACM Distinguished Members and ACM Fellows for 2015 from the SIGSOFT community.
    • The new ACM Senior Members are Eduardo Almeida, Manoel Gomes Mendonca, and Travis D. Breaux
    • Distinguished Members: Robyn Lutz was recognized as new ACM Distinguished Scientist. Jeff Gray and Judith Bishop were recognized as a Distinguished Educator.
    • This year there was only one SIGSOFT member who was named an ACM Fellow - Michael Ernst from the University of Washington "For contributions to software analysis, testing, and verification."

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 2015 SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award committee, led by Darko Marinov, selected the paper: "Visualization of Test Information to Assist Fault Localization" by James A. Jones, Mary Jean Harrold, John Stasko, from the Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE '02).

This is the third year for the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, for the outstanding PhD dissertations in the field of software engineering. This year's award will be presented at ESEC/FSE 2015 to Muath Alkhalaf for his dissertation "Automatic Detection and Repair of Input Validation and Sanitization Bugs." Alkhalaf completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, advised by Professor Tevfik Bultan.

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 interaction. The aceptance rates have been around the 20 - 25% range with SIGSOFT Distinguished paper awards ratio being up to 1 award for every 10 accepted papers. The Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014) was held November 16 - 21, 2014 in Hong Kong, China. It had 272 submissions with 74 papers accepted (27%) resulting in 6 Distinguished Paper Awards. of which the following provided innovative insights:

  1. Klaus-Benedikt Schultis, Christoph Elsner, and Daniel Lohmann, Architecture Challenges for Internal Software Ecosystems: A Large - Scale Industry Case Study
  2. Annie T.T. Ying and Martin P. Robillard, Selection and Presentation Practices for Code Example Summarization
  3. Miltiadis Allamanis, Earl T. Barr, Christian Bird, and Charles Sutton, Learning Natural Coding Conventions
  4. Mingxing Zhang, Yongwei Wu, Shan Lu, Shanxiang Qi, Jinglei Ren, and Weimin Zheng, AI: A Lightweight System for Tolerating Concurrency Bugs

The International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2015) was held May 16 - 24, 2015 in Florence, Italy had 452 submissions from more than 1200 authors and 37 countries with 84 papers selected for presentation (18.5%). The following papers were recipients of the Distinquished Paper Awards:

  1. Janet Siegmund, Norbert Siegmund, and Sven Apel: Views on Internal and External Validity in Empirical Software Engineering
  2. Michael Waterman, James Noble, and George Allan: How Much Up-Front? A Grounded theory of Agile Architecture
  3. Michele Tufano, Fabio Palomba, Gabriele Bavota, Rocco Oliveto, Massimiliano Di Penta, Andrea De Lucia, and Denys Poshyvanyk: When and Why Your Code Starts to Smell Bad
  4. Aleksandar Milicevic, Joseph P. Near, Eunsuk Kang, and Daniel Jackson: Alloy: A General - Purpose Higher - Order Relational Constraint Solver
  5. Mathieu Lavallee and Pierre N. Robillard: Why Good Developers Write Bad Code: An Observational Case Study of the Impacts of Organizational Factors on Software Quality
  6. Adrian Nistor, Po-Chun Chang, Cosmin Radoi, and Shan Lu: CARAMEL: Detecting and Fixing Performance Problems That Have Non-Intrusive Fixes

The International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA 2014) was held July 21 - 25, 2014, San Jose, California had the following three Distinguished Paper Awards based on 128 submissions of which 36 were accepted (28%).

  1. Omer Tripp, Pietro Ferrara, and Marco Pistoia, Hybrid Security Analysis of Web JavaScript Code via Dynamic Partial Evaluation
  2. Rongxin Wu, Hongyu Zhang, Shing-Chi Cheung, and Sunghun Kim, CrashLocator: Locating Crashing Faults Based on Crash Stacks
  3. René Just, Michael D. Ernst, and Gordon Fraser, Efficient Mutation Analysis by Propagating and Partitioning Infected Execution States


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 (as well as ISSTA) 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 2015 over $705K of grants were given to 71 graduate and 6 undergraduate students (out of 131 requests).

  • At ICSE 2015 we are able to fund 56 out of 59 applications.
  • 16 from Europe
  • 11 from Canada
  • 19 from US
  • 2 from Brazil
  • 6 from Asia (China, Japan, India)
  • One from New Zealand and from Australia

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 provided funding for this year's FSE in Hong Kong bringing together Asian software engineering educators.


To better serve the Software Engineering technical community, SIGSOFT extended the resources it provides to it members by:

  1. Creating an Early Career Award that recognizes individuals whose last computer-related educational degree (i.e., baccalaureate, masters, or doctorate degree) was awarded no earlier than 7 years ago at the time of nomination.
  2. Funding the establishment of a CAPS Application Web Site to streamline the processing of applications. This included providing for room sharing options that could increase the effectiveness of CAPS student funding.
  3. Starting the SIGSOFT Webinar Series in June with three webinars that had over 1000 registerants. The webinars are archived and open to the general software engineering community. The webinars are based on the Future of Software Engineering Track at ICSE 2014 as well as recent keynote addresses and workshop summaries.
  4. Creating a web page ( accessible through the SIGSOFT home page with the table of contents and ACM Authorizer links to over 80 ACM conferences. This provides free access to the proceeding's papers maintained in the ACM DL for a one year period from the conference start date.
  5. Funding the establishment of a series of Symposia in collaboration with local research communities and targeted at South American students and young researchers in order to have a record number of South American submissions, acceptances, and attendance to all ICSE 2017 tracks. These events are organized in conjunction with, amongst others, CibSE - the Ibero-American Conference on Software Engineering, the Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering, the Argentinian Symposium on Software Engineering, and the annual meeting of the Chilean Computer Society.


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

  • Offered free online student memberships to students attending FSE 2014. A total of 31 students took advantage of this offer
  • Established a SIGSOFT Chapter in India (iSoft) and created a liaison position on the SIGSOFT EC. In addition we offered free online access to the iSoft members to the SIGSOFT Newsletter and created a distribution list for its members to receive SIGSOFT announcements.
  • Added two $10K projects to the 2015 budget to support yet to be determined projects.
  • Planned for the first SIGSOFT Town Hall meeting at ISSTA (Town Hall meetings previously had been held only at ICSE and ESEC/FSE)
  • Started laying the foundation for creating a SIGSOFT Chapter in China.


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
  • Finding more Webinar Speakers and Topics.
  • Establishing a working relationship with Chinese and South American software engineering Researchers.