SIGSOFT Annual Report

Fiscal Year 2017

Submitted by Nenad Medvidovic, SIGSOFT Chair

SIGSOFT seeks to improve our ability to engineer software by stimulating interaction among practitioners, researchers, and educators; by fostering the professional development of software engineers; and by representing software engineers to professional, legal, and political entities.

ACM's SIGSOFT had another excellent year, both technically and financially in 2016-2017. This report provides a summary of key SIGSOFT activities over the past year.


SIGSOFT's awards program recognizes the many achievements of the software engineering community (see for the most recent awardees). A number of the awards, including our prestigious service, research, and education awards, were presented again this year at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2017) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  • The ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award was presented to Daniel Jackson from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, "for foundational contributions to software modeling, the creation of the modeling language Alloy, and the development of a widely used tool supporting model verification."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award was presented to Bertrand Meyer from Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Innopolis University, Russia, University of Toulouse, France, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, "for his contributions to the advancement of the research and practice of software engineering."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to Laura Dillon from Michigan State University, "for outstanding leadership and service to the software engineering research community and to broadening participation in computing."
  • The inaugural ACM SIGSOFT Early Career Research Award was presented to Christian Bird from Microsoft Research, USA, "for outstanding contributions in the area of software engineering as an early career investigator."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award was given to Srdjan Krstic, for his Ph.D. dissertation titled "Trace Checking of Quantitative Properties." The dissertation was completed at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, under the guidance of Professor Carlo Ghezzi.
  • We recognized the new ACM Senior Members, Distinguished Members, and Fellows from the SIGSOFT community. In particular, the new Distinguished Members are Joanne Atlee, Tevfik Bultan, Sebastian Elbaum, and Shing-Chi Cheung. The new ACM Fellow is Daniel Jackson.
  • The ACM 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. This year, the award went to the paper "Principled design of the modern Web architecture" by Roy T. Fielding and Richard N. Taylor, published in Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2000).
  • The Impact Paper Award is in addition to the Most Influential Paper Awards, also known as "test of time awards", which are given to papers that have appeared at a particular conference. ICSE is the SIGSOFT co-sponsored conference with the longest track record of awarding Most Influential Papers. This year, the award went to the ICSE 2007 paper Feedback-Directed Random Test Generation by Carlos Pacheco, Shuvendu K. Lahiri, Michael D. Ernst, and Thomas Ball.
  • Many of SIGSOFT's sponsored meetings this year also presented Distinguished Paper Awards. SIGSOFT allows up to 10% of the accepted papers to be selected for this award. The list of awarded papers is maintained on SIGSOFT website's Awards page.


Software engineering has traditionally been an interdisciplinary area, branching into a range of different application domains as well as other research areas in computer science, such as human-computer interaction, mobile computing, artificial intelligence, distributed systems, more recently big data and machine learning, and so on. This is because every facet of computing, as well as many other scientific and engineering disciplines, depend on software. Advances in these other areas mentioned above - from big data, to the cloud, virtualization, deep learning, mobile computing, formal methods, computer security, etc., with applications in autonomous vehicles, robotics, medicine, and countless other areas - require corresponding software engineering methods, tools, and techniques. This is reflected in the types of papers that increasingly appear in software engineering venues sponsored by SIGSOFT. Such papers tend to combine advances in multiple areas into solutions to specific problems. As examples, we highlight two such papers, the first a recipient of the SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at the Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, held in November 2016 in Seattle, USA (FSE 2016), and the second a recipient of the same award at the International Conference on Software Engineering, held in May 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina (ICSE 2017):

  • "Multi-Representational Security Analysis" by Eunsuk Kang, Aleksandar Milicevic, and Daniel Jackson presented a technique for end-to-end security analysis by composing multiple models of a system, including early (e.g., design) models.
  • "Decoding the representation of code in the brain: An fMRI study of code review and expertise" by Benjamin Floyd, Tyler Santander, and Westley Weimer showed how functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to study code comprehension by software developers.

We have decided to highlight these two papers as a way of demonstrating the breadth of topics that are commonly covered in SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences today.


Over the past several years, SIGSOFT has introduced a number of programs to aid and expand our membership. Some representative examples are as follows. Our student-members receive discounted membership rates and significantly discounted registration fees at all SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences. Most of our conferences offer Doctoral Symposia where students are mentored by experienced Software Engineering professors. The SIGSOFT Webinar series has become quite popular; in the past year, which had a lighter slate than usual that included only 4 webinars we still had a total of 1,486 attendees both live and on-demand. We recently introduced the Early Career Award that recognizes individuals at early stages in their careers; the past year was the inaugural year of the Early Career Award. SIGSOFT provides travel support to conferences for dozens of graduate and undergraduate student-members as well as support to defray the costs of childcare for all members of our community (faculty qualify as well), through the Conference Aid Program for Students (CAPS); as of this year, CAPS will be extended to help defray travel costs of a certain number of post-doctoral researchers.

To broaden SIGSOFT's reach and membership, SIGSOFT has established national chapters in India (ISoft) and China (CSoft). Each chapter has a liaison on the SIGSOFT EC, in addition to our long-standing International Liaison. As part of the support for these two communities specifically, SIGSOFT sponsors travel for a total of four SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award winning authors to present their work at ISoft's and CSoft's flagship national events (two at each event). The success of this program is reflected in this year's decision by the organizers of ISEC 2017, ISoft's premier event, to fund the attendance and presentation of two additional SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award winners. Furthermore, SIGSOFT has sponsored travel for two speakers at each of the three annual Warm-up Workshops organized to expose the Latin American software engineering community to ICSE, which was held in Buenos Aires in 2017. SIGSOFT is currently in discussions with the organizers of ICSE 2017 to sponsor a post-mortem event for the Latin American software engineering community.


While SIGSOFT is stable and strong, there are several challenges we continue to face:

  • SIGSOFT's membership numbers have been stable despite a large growth of software engineering worldwide. We will aim to address this, with a particular focus on practitioners. To this end, we already have a couple of programs in place, but we will need to better utilize SIGSOFT's Industry Liaison.
  • We will continue to work on establishing a long-term working relationship with our Indian, Chinese, and South American colleagues, as well as expanding the reach of SIGSOFT into Africa. While we have had some success in this regard, there is significant room for further growth.
  • The typical conference registration fees place a significant burden on the research funds of many members of our community. SIGSOFT has tried to alleviate this burden through the CAPS program. We will work on developing ways of reducing the fees more directly. SIGSOFT is currently working on developing a model to return conference surpluses to future editions of the same conference, in a way that will directly apply to reduced registration fees.
  • We recognize that traditional ways of reaching our membership are no longer sufficient. To address that, we will work on increasing SIGSOFT's presence on social media. In addition to the elected SIGSOFT Executive Committee Member-at-Large who serves in the role of Social Media Chair, we have recently appointed a Deputy Social Media Chair in order to increase and improve our presence in this area.