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Future of Software Engineering (FOSE 2014), May 31 – June 7, 2014, Hyderabad, India

FOSE 2014 – Proceedings

Contents - Abstracts - Authors


Title Page

Message of the Chairs
Welcome to the program track on the Future of Software Engineering (FoSE) co-located with ICSE 2014. FoSE provides delegates with a unique opportunity to assess the current status of software engineering and to indicate where the field is heading in the future. An international group of leading experts has been invited to report on different topics, to provide a broad and in-depth view of the evolution of the field.

Future of Software Engineering

Software Process
Alfonso Fuggetta and Elisabetta Di Nitto
(Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
This paper is a travelogue of Software Process research and practice in the past 15 years. It is based on the paper written by one of the authors for the FOSE Track at ICSE 2000. Since then, the landscape of Software Process research has significantly evolved: technological breakthroughs and market disruptions have defined new and complex challenges for Software Engineering researchers and practitioners.
In this paper we provide an overview of the current status of research and practice, highlight new challenges, and provide a non-exhaustive list of research issues that, in our view, need to be tackled by future research work.

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Software Engineering for Mobility: Reflecting on the Past, Peering into the Future
Gian Pietro Picco, Christine Julien, Amy L. Murphy, Mirco Musolesi, and Gruia-Catalin Roman
(University of Trento, Italy; University of Texas at Austin, USA; Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy; University of Birmingham, UK; University of New Mexico, USA)
At the end of the second millennium, mobility was a hot research topic. Physical mobility of devices was becoming commonplace with the availability of cheap wireless cards, the first attempts to transform phones into personal do-it-all devices were beginning to appear, and mobile ad hoc networks were attracting a huge interest from many research communities. Logical mobility of code was still going strong as a design option for distributed systems, with the Java language providing some of the ready-to-use building blocks. In 2000, when we put forth a research “roadmap” for software engineering for mobility, the challenges posed by this dynamic scenario were many. A decade and a half later, many things have changed. Mobility is no longer exotic: we juggle multiple personal devices every day while on the move, plus we grab and update applications on a whim from virtual stores. Indeed, some trends and visions we considered in our original paper materialized, while others faded, disappeared, or morphed into something else. Moreover, some players unexpected at the time (e.g., cloud computing and online social networks) appeared on the scene as game changers. In this paper we revisit critically our original vision, reflecting on the past and peering into the future of the lively and exciting research area of mobility. Further, we ask ourselves to what extent the software engineering community is still interested in taking up the challenges mobility bears.

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Software Architecture: A Travelogue
David Garlan
(Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Over the past two and a half decades software architecture has emerged as an important subfield of software engineering. During that time there has been considerable progress in developing the technological and methodological base for treating architectural design as an engineering discipline. However, much still remains to be done to achieve that. Moreover, the changing face of technology raises a number of challenges for software architecture. This travelogue recounts the history of the field, its current state of practice and research, and speculates on some of the important emerging trends, challenges, and aspirations.

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Software Services: A Research Roadmap
Satish Chandra, Vibha Singhal Sinha, Saurabh Sinha, and Krishna Ratakonda
(Samsung Electronics, USA; IBM Research, India; IBM Research, USA)
Software services companies offer software development, testing and maintenance as a “service” to other organizations. As a thriv- ing industry in its own right, software services offers certain unique research problems as well as different takes on research problems typically considered in software engineering research. In this paper, we highlight some of these research problems, drawing heavily upon our involvement with IBM Global Business Services organization over the past several years. We focus on four selected topics: how to organize people and the flow of work through people, how to manage knowledge at an organizational level, how to estimate and manage risk in a services engagement, and finally, testing services. These topics by no means cover all areas pertinent to soft- ware services; rather, they reflect ones in which we have personal perspectives to offer. We also share our experience in deployment of research innovations in a large service delivery organization.

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Software Traceability: Trends and Future Directions
Jane Cleland-Huang, Orlena C. Z. Gotel, Jane Huffman Hayes, Patrick Mäder, and Andrea Zisman
(DePaul University, USA; University of Kentucky, USA; TU Ilmenau, Germany; Open University, UK)
Software traceability is a sought-after, yet often elusive quality in software-intensive systems. Required in safety-critical systems by many certifying bodies, such as the USA Federal Aviation Authority, software traceability is an essential element of the software development process. In practice, traceability is often conducted in an ad-hoc, after-the-fact manner and, therefore, its benefits are not always fully realized. Over the past decade, researchers have focused on specific areas of the traceability problem, developing more sophisticated tooling, promoting strategic planning, applying information retrieval techniques capable of semi-automating the trace creation and maintenance process, developing new trace query languages and visualization techniques that use trace links, and applying traceability in specific domains such as Model Driven Development, product line systems, and agile project environments. In this paper, we build upon a prior body of work to highlight the state-of-the-art in software traceability, and to present compelling areas of research that need to be addressed.

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Software Product Line Engineering and Variability Management: Achievements and Challenges
Andreas Metzger and Klaus Pohl
(University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
Software product line engineering has proven to empower organizations to develop a diversity of similar software-intensive systems (applications) at lower cost, in shorter time, and with higher quality when compared with the development of single systems. Over the last decade the software product line engineering research community has grown significantly. It has produced impressive research results both in terms of quality as well as quantity. We identified over 600 relevant research and experience papers published within the last seven years in established conferences and journals. We briefly summarize the major research achievements of these past seven years. We structure this research summary along a standardized software product line framework. Further, we outline current and future research challenges anticipated from major trends in software engineering and technology.

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Engineering Big Data Solutions
Audris Mockus
(Avaya Labs Research, USA)
Structured and unstructured data in operational support tools have long been prevalent in software engineering. Similar data is now becoming widely available in other domains. Software systems that utilize such operational data (OD) to help with software design and maintenance activities are increasingly being built despite the difficulties of drawing valid conclusions from disparate and low-quality data and the continuing evolution of operational support tools. This paper proposes systematizing approaches to the engineering of OD-based systems. To prioritize and structure research areas we consider historic developments, such as big data hype; synthesize defining features of OD, such as confounded measures and unobserved context; and discuss emerging new applications, such as diverse and large OD collections and extremely short development intervals. To sustain the credibility of OD-based systems more research will be needed to investigate effective existing approaches and to synthesize novel, OD-specific engineering principles.

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The (R)Evolution of Social Media in Software Engineering
Margaret-Anne Storey, Leif Singer, Brendan Cleary, Fernando Figueira Filho, and Alexey Zagalsky
(University of Victoria, Canada; Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)
Software developers rely on media to communicate, learn, collaborate, and coordinate with others. Recently, social media has dramatically changed the landscape of software engineering, challenging some old assumptions about how developers learn and work with one another. We see the rise of the social programmer who actively participates in online communities and openly contributes to the creation of a large body of crowdsourced socio-technical content.
In this paper, we examine the past, present, and future roles of social media in software engineering. We provide a review of research that examines the use of different media channels in software engineering from 1968 to the present day. We also provide preliminary results from a large survey with developers that actively use social media to understand how they communicate and collaborate, and to gain insights into the challenges they face. We find that while this particular population values social media, traditional channels, such as face-to-face communication, are still considered crucial. We synthesize findings from our historical review and survey to propose a roadmap for future research on this topic. Finally, we discuss implications for research methods as we argue that social media is poised to bring about a paradigm shift in software engineering research.

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Software Testing: A Research Travelogue (2000–2014)
Alessandro Orso and Gregg Rothermel
(Georgia Tech, USA; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)
Despite decades of work by researchers and practitioners on numerous software quality assurance techniques, testing remains one of the most widely practiced and studied approaches for assessing and improving software quality. Our goal, in this paper, is to provide an accounting of some of the most successful research performed in software testing since the year 2000, and to present what appear to be some of the most significant challenges and opportunities in this area. To be more inclusive in this effort, and to go beyond our own personal opinions and biases, we began by contacting over 50 of our colleagues who are active in the testing research area, and asked them what they believed were (1) the most significant contributions to software testing since 2000 and (2) the greatest open challenges and opportunities for future research in this area. While our colleagues’ input (consisting of about 30 responses) helped guide our choice of topics to cover and ultimately the writing of this paper, we by no means claim that our paper represents all the relevant and noteworthy research performed in the area of software testing in the time period considered—a task that would require far more space and time than we have available. Nevertheless, we hope that the approach we followed helps this paper better reflect not only our views, but also those of the software testing community in general.

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Software Evolution and Maintenance
Václav Rajlich
(Wayne State University, USA)
Successful software requires constant change that is triggered by evolving requirements, technologies, and stakeholder knowledge. This constant change constitutes software evolution. Software evolution has gained steadily in importance and recently moved into the center of attention of software developers. There is the new prominence of evolutionary software development that includes agile, iterative, open source, inner source, and other processes. As a consequence, the bulk of software development now happens in the stage of software evolution and this changed the face of software engineering. This paper discusses evolutionary software development and also discusses the software change, which is the fundamental software evolution task. It further discusses research methodologies, teaching software evolution in undergraduate curriculum, and difference between software evolution and software maintenance. For all these themes, this travelogue paper presents the current state of the art and the perspective of the future advance.

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How Programming Languages Will Co-evolve with Software Engineering: A Bright Decade Ahead
Emerson Murphy-Hill and Dan Grossman
(North Carolina State University, USA; University of Washington, USA)
Programming languages are an indispensable foundation of software engineering, so it is essential that innovations in software engineering anticipate and influence innovations in programming languages and vice-versa. We discuss seven emerging trends in the design, adoption, and use of programming languages that have clear and valuable overlap with software engineering. These themes include language design that assumes modern development ecosystems; languages that support multiple views; data-driven language design; formal and machine-checked verification that works for real systems; gradual typing; languages that embrace a distributed, asynchronous world of large external data sources; and the increasing influence of functional-programming concepts. We discuss how the time is now for software-engineering research to influence and improve these significant changes to the field.

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Software Engineering and Automated Deduction
Willem Visser, Nikolaj Bjørner, and Natarajan Shankar
(Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Microsoft Research, USA; SRI Computer Science Lab, USA)
Software poses a range of engineering challenges. How do we capture the expected behavior of the software? How can we check if such behavioral descriptions are consistent and valid? How do we generate test instances that explore and examine different parts of the software. We focus on the underlying technology by which a number of these problems can be reduced to a logical form and answered using automated deduction. In the first part we briefly summarize the use of automated deduction within software engineering. Then we consider some of the current and future trends in software engineering and the type of advances it may require from automated deduction. We observe that in the past software engineering problems were solved by merely leveraging advances in automated deduction, especially in SAT and SMT solving, whereas we are now entering a phase where advances in automated deduction are also driven by software engineering requirements.

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Probabilistic Programming
Andrew D. Gordon, Thomas A. Henzinger, Aditya V. Nori, and Sriram K. Rajamani
(Microsoft Research, UK; IST Austria, Austria; Microsoft Research, India)
Probabilistic programs are usual functional or imperative programs with two added constructs: (1) the ability to draw values at random from distributions, and (2) the ability to condition values of variables in a program via observations. Models from diverse application areas such as computer vision, coding theory, cryptographic protocols, biology and reliability analysis can be written as probabilistic programs.
Probabilistic inference is the problem of computing an explicit representation of the probability distribution implicitly specified by a probabilistic program. Depending on the application, the desired output from inference may vary---we may want to estimate the expected value of some function f with respect to the distribution, or the mode of the distribution, or simply a set of samples drawn from the distribution.
In this paper, we describe connections this research area called ``Probabilistic Programming" has with programming languages and software engineering, and this includes language design, and the static and dynamic analysis of programs. We survey current state of the art and speculate on promising directions for future research.

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Certifiably Safe Software-Dependent Systems: Challenges and Directions
John Hatcliff, Alan Wassyng, Tim Kelly, Cyrille Comar, and Paul Jones
(Kansas State University, USA; McMaster University, Canada; University of York, UK; AdaCore, France; US Food and Drug Administration, USA)
The amount and impact of software-dependence in critical systems impinging on daily life is increasing rapidly. In many of these systems, inadequate software and systems engineering can lead to economic disaster, injuries or death. Society generally does not recognize the potential of losses from deficiencies of systems due to software until after some mishap occurs. Then there is an outcry, reflecting societal expectations; however, few know what it takes to achieve the expected safety and, in general, loss-prevention.
On the one hand there are unprecedented, exponential increases in size, inter-dependencies, intricacies, numbers and variety in the systems and distribution of development processes across organizations and cultures. On the other hand, industry's capability to verify and validate these systems has not kept up. Mere compliance with existing standards, techniques, and regulations cannot guarantee the safety properties of these systems. The gap between practice and capability is increasing rapidly.
This paper considers the future of software engineering as needed to support development and certification of safety-critical software-dependent systems. We identify a collection of challenges and document their current state, the desired state, gaps and barriers to reaching the desired state, and potential directions in software engineering research and education that could address the gaps and barriers.

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Future of End-User Software Engineering: Beyond the Silos
Margaret M. Burnett and Brad A. Myers
(Oregon State University, USA; Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
End-user software engineering (EUSE) is a research area that aims to invent new kinds of technologies that collaborate with end users to improve the quality of their software. The practice that EUSE research aims to support is end users using new tools and methods to improve the quality of the software that they and other end users have created. There is a need for this outcome because research shows both that the number of end users creating their own software greatly exceeds the number of professional software developers, and that the software they create is riddled with errors. In this paper, we describe the present state of EUSE, and challenges in moving forward toward a bright future. We show how the future of EUSE may become over-siloed, restricting future researchers' vision of what can be achieved. We then show that focusing on the in-the-moment intents of end-user developers can be used to derive a number of promising directions forward for EUSE researchers, and how theories can help us further de-silo future EUSE research. Finally, we discuss how overcoming challenges for the future of end-user software engineering may also bring direct benefits to the future of "classic" software engineering.

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The Past, Present, and Future of MOOCs and Their Relevance to Software Engineering
Balakrishnan Dasarathy, Kevin Sullivan, Douglas C. Schmidt, Douglas H. Fisher, and Adam Porter
(University of Maryland University College, USA; University of Virginia, USA; Vanderbilt University, USA; University of Maryland at College Park, USA)
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a recent development in online education aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the Web. They are a potentially disruptive technology, changing how education is delivered and funded around the world. MOOCs are relevant to software researchers and practitioners, not only because they will increasingly receive lifelong education through MOOCs and related technologies, but also because content creation, delivery, and enhancement of MOOCs is evolving into a new form of socially- and cognitively-embedded software development. This paper discusses how education is being enhanced by MOOCs and other digital learning technology.
In particular, we distinguish the free educational content provided by MOOCs from the emerging collaborative processes through which MOOCs are created, which is arguably more transformative on education than the content itself. We discuss blended models of higher education to suit different learner communities, as well as nascent moves toward the creation of instructional communities of educators that transcend institutional boundaries. We also explore MOOCs and their evolution as a subject for research in the learning sciences and implications for R&D in software and systems engineering.

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