SIGSOFT Annual Report

Fiscal Year 2018

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 2017-2018. 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 2018) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

  • The ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award was presented to Andreas Zeller from Saarland University, Germany, "for outstanding seminal contributions in automated debugging and mining software repositories."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award was presented to Shriram Krishnamurthy from Brown University, USA, "for his contributions to the advancement of the research and practice of software engineering."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to David Rosenblum from the National University of Singapore, "for outstanding leadership and service to the software engineering research community and to broadening participation in computing."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Early Career Research Award was presented to Gabriele Bavota from University of Lugano, Switzerland, "for outstanding contributions in the area of software engineering as an early career investigator."
  • The ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award was given to Fan Long, for his Ph.D. dissertation titled "Automatic Patch Generation via Learning from Successful Human Patches." The dissertation was completed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USC, under the guidance of Professor Martin Rinard.
  • We recognized the new ACM Senior Members, Distinguished Members, and Fellows from the SIGSOFT community. In particular, the new Distinguished Members are Myra Cohen, James Cross, Mauro Pezzè, Hridesh Rajan, Willem Visser, and Thomas Zimmermann. The new ACM Fellows are Margaret Burnett and Gail Murphy.
  • 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 "DECKARD: Scalable and Accurate Tree-Based Detection of Code Clones" by Lingxiao Jiang, Ghassan Misherghi, Zhendong Su, and Stephane Glondu, published in Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2007).
  • 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 2008 paper "Debugging Reinvented: Asking and Answering Why and Why Not Questions About Program Behavior", by Andy J. Ko and Brad A. Myers.
  • 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. As an example, the papers that received the award at ICSE 2018 in Gothenburg, Sweden are:
    • "Spatio-Temporal Context Reduction: A Pointer-Analysis- Based Static Approach for Detecting Use-After- Free Vulnerabilities", by Hua Yan, Yulei Sui, Shiping Chen, and Jingling Xue
    • "Identifying Design Problems in the Source Code: A Grounded Theory", by Leonardo De Silva Sousa, Anderson Oliviera, Willian Oizumi, Simone Barbosa, Alessandro Garcia, Jaejoon Lee, Marcos Kalinowski, Rafael de Mello, Roberto Oliveira, Neto Baldoino and Rodrigo Paes
    • "Static Automated Program Repair for Heap Properties", by Rijnard van Tonder and Claire Le Goues
    • "Automated Localization for Unreproducible Builds", by Zhilei Ren and He Jiang, Jifeng Xuan, and Zijiang Yang
    • "Large-Scale Analysis of Framework-Specific Exceptions in Android Apps", by Lingling Fan, Ting Su, Sen Chen, Guozhu Meng, Yang Liu, Lihua Xu, Geguang Pu and Zhendong Su
    • "Generalized Data Structure Synthesis", by Calvin Loncaric, Michael D. Ernst and Emina Torlak
    • "Traceability in the Wild: Automatically Augmenting Incomplete Trace Links", by Michael Rath, Jacob Rendall, Jin Guo, Jane Cleland-Huang, and Patrick Mäder
    • "Towards Optimal Concolic Testing", by Xinyu Wang, Jun Sun, Zhenbang Chen, Peixin Zhang, Jingyi Wang, and Yun Lin


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 Joint European Sofwtare Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, held in September 2017 in Paderborn, Germany (ESEC/FSE 2017), and the second a recipient of the same award at the International Conference on Software Engineering, held in May 2018 in Gothenburg, Sweden (ICSE 2018):

  • "Cooperative Kernels: GPU Multitasking for Blocking Algorithms", by Tyler Sorensen, Hugues Evrard, and Alastair F. Donaldson presented a technique that extends the traditional GPU programming model geared towards writing blocking algorithms, where workgroups of a cooperative kernel are fairly scheduled, and multitasking is supported via a small set of language extensions through which the kernel and scheduler cooperate.
  • "Identifying Design Problems in the Source Code: A Grounded Theory", by Leonardo De Silva Sousa, Anderson Oliviera, Willian Oizumi, Simone Barbosa, Alessandro Garcia, Jaejoon Lee, Marcos Kalinowski, Rafael de Mello, Roberto Oliveira, Neto Baldoino and Rodrigo Paes described a multi-trial industrial experiment with professionals from five software companies to build a grounded theory that offers explanations on how software developers identify design problems in practice. This work revealed specific characteristics of symptoms that developers consider helpful, and that developers often combine different types of symptoms to identify a single design problem.

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 remains very popular; in the past year, SIGSOFT organized 11 webinars with a total of 9,970 registrants and 4,725 attendees, of which 2,367 viewed the webinars live. We recently introduced the Early Career Award that recognizes individuals at early stages in their careers. Even though the Early Career Award is quite young, it has clearly become a popular and respected 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 the past year, CAPS has been 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 the decision by the organizers of ISEC 2017, ISoft's premier event, to fund the attendance and presentation of 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 has been 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. We are currently in discussions with out South Korean colleagues about devising a way of including them more integrally in SIGSOFT's activities, especially in light of the fact that ICSE 2020 will be held in Seoul. While we have had some successes in each of these geographic areas, 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 has recently adopted 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.