Invited Talks



Monica Lam (Stanford University)

Omlet: A Revolution Against Big-Brother Social Networks

Wednesday, Nov 19th

Abstract: With the wide-spread adoption of proprietary social networks like Facebook and mobile chat platforms like Wechat, we may be heading to a future where all our communication are monetized and our online transactions are mediated by monopolistic big-data companies. This talk describes a new anti-data monetization movement led by Omlet, an open messaging service and distributed computing platform that spun out of 4 years of research at Stanford University. With Omlet, (1) users can own their data and have them hosted on cloud services of their choice and (2) distributed "p2p webapps" enable phones and other internet of things to interact with each other without having its communication be monetized. Introduced in March 2014, Omlet is already seeing traction, as it is being distributed on millions of Android phones, by Asus and other yet-to-be-announced device makers. This paradigm shift to decentralized computation not only safeguards users' data privacy, it fosters open competition and innovation, and provides an efficient and scalable foundation to handle the billions of phones and devices. Software engineering researchers can help make this a reality by making distributed mobile app development on such a platform accessible.

Biography: Monica S. Lam has been a Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University since 1988; she is also the founding Director of the Stanford MobiSocial Computing Laboratory. She received her BS in Computer Science from University of British Columbia and her PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests spanned high-performance computing, computer architecture, compiler optimizations, security analysis, virtualization, and social networks. A serial entrepreneur, Prof. Lam has launched three disruptive startups to commercialize her research results: she helped found Tensilica (configurable processor cores, 1998), and was the founding CEO of MokaFive (desktop management via virtualization, 2005), and Omlet (open messaging and social networking, 2012). She is a co-author of a popular compiler textbook, often called the Dragon book, and an ACM Fellow.

Invited Talks

Outstanding Research Award Talk

Alexander L. Wolf (Imperial College London)

From Software Engineering to Software Systems

Tuesday, Nov 18th

Abstract: I began my career in software engineering research and now find myself working more in software systems research. Is there a difference? In this talk I reflect on this question by recalling the stream of ideas, students, and colleagues that have shaped my path. I present an overview of the current projects in which I am involved to understand at a technical level where the two research communities, software engineering and software systems, connect and diverge.

Biography: Alexander L. Wolf is a professor in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London. He received the Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Alex was a Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and then on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he held the C.V. Schelke Chair in the College of Engineering. Before moving to London he helped found the Faculty of Informatics at the University of Lugano. Alex's interests span the areas of distributed systems, networking, and software engineering. His achievements include seminal work in software architecture, business analytics, and information-centric networks. He is currently involved in projects having to do with cloud computing, data-centre networking, and service-based systems hosted on MANETs. Alex serves as President of the ACM. Previously, he was Chair of the ACM Software System Award Committee, Chair of the ACM SIG Governing Board, and Chair of ACM SIGSOFT. He was a member of the editorial boards of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, and the Research Highlights section of the Communications of the ACM. Alex is a Fellow of the ACM, the IEEE, and BCS, holder of a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award, a two-time recipient of the ACM SIGSOFT Research Impact Award, a recipient of the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research and Distinguished Service Awards, and a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement and Advocacy in Research Alumni Award from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Department of Computer Science.

Impact Paper Award Talk

Magne Jørgensen (Simula Research Laboratory)

Ten years with Evidence-Based Software Engineering. What is it? Has it had any impact? What’s next?

Thursday, Nov 20th

Abstract: An evidence-based software engineer is one who is able to: 1) Formulate a question, related to a decision or judgment, so that it can be answered by the use of evidence, 2) Collect, critically evaluate and summarise relevant evidence from research, practice and local studies, 3) Apply the evidence, integrated with knowledge about the local context, to guide decisions and judgments. The keynote reflects on what it in practise means to be evidence-based in software engineering contexts, where the number of different contexts is high and the research-based evidence sparse, and why there is a need for more evidence-based practises. We summarise our experience from ten years of Evidence-Based Software Engineering in the context of university courses, training of software engineers and systematic literature reviews of software engineering research. While there are challenges in training people in evidence-based practise, our experience suggest that it is feasible and that the training can make an important difference in terms of quality of software engineering judgment and decisions. Based on our experience we suggest changes in how evidence-based software engineering should be presented and taught, and how we should ease the transfer of research results into evidence-based practises.

Biography: Magne Jørgensen works as a researcher at Simula Research Laboratory and a professor at the University of Oslo. Previously, he worked with software development, estimation, and process improvement in the telecom and insurance industry. He has, together with Prof. Kitchenham and Dr Dybå, founded and promoted evidence-based software engineering and teaches this to students and software professionals. His current main research interest is in management of software projects and empirical research methods.

Perspectives from Industry

John Penix (Google)

Experiences Developing Tools For Developers

Thursday, Nov 20th

Abstract: Software Engineers are horrible customers for software tools. If they don't like your tools, they will just write their own. If your tool wastes a few minutes of a developer's day, good luck getting them to ever try your tool again. And if, after years of effort, you manage to develop tools they actually like, you are really in trouble. This is when they start building systems on top of your tools. No API? No problem! They will hack and scrape as needed to get their job done. In this talk I'll go through a number of examples of successes, non-successes and over-successes from the past 8 years of evolving the developer infrastructure at Google. I'll highlight the challenges we faced, our attempts to address the challenges and share our lessons learned.

Biography: John Penix is a Software Engineer on the Developer Infrastructure Team at Google where he has spent 8 years building, supporting and breaking various pieces of Google's internal developer platforms. Prior to joining Google, he worked in the Automated Software Engineering Group at NASA Ames Research Center working on software verification tools. John received a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He is a member of the Steering Committee for the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering and the IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation.

Satish Chandra (Samsung Electronics)

Are You Getting Traction? Tales from the Tech Transfer Trenches

Thursday, Nov 20th

Abstract: So you have developed a new software productivity tool, written an FSE or an ICSE paper about it, and are justifiably proud of your work. If you work for a company, your (curmudgeonly) manager now wants to see its “impact” on the business. This is the part where you have to convince someone else to use your shiny new tool in their day-to-day work, or ship it as a product. But you soon realize that getting traction with developers or product managers is significantly harder than the research itself. Sounds familiar? In the past several years, I was involved in taking a variety of software productivity tools to various constituencies within a company: internal users, product teams, and service delivery teams. In this talk, I will share my experiences in interacting with these constituencies; sometimes successful experiences, but at other times not so successful ones. I will focus broadly on tools in two areas: bug finding and test automation. I will make some observations on when tech transfer works and when it stumbles.

Biography: Satish Chandra obtained a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997, and a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur in 1991, both in computer science. From 1997 to 2002, he was a member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories, where his research focused on program analysis, domain-specific languages, and data-communication protocols. From 2002 to 2013, he was a research staff member at IBM Research, where his research focused on bug finding and verification, software synthesis, and test automation. He joined Samsung Electronics in 2013, where he leads the advanced programming tools research team. He is an ACM Distinguished Scientist.

Thomas Zimmermann (Microsoft Research)

Data Hard with a Vengeance

Thursday, Nov 20th

Abstract: Action flicks and the analysis of software data in industry have more in common than you think. Both action heroes and development teams are on tight deadlines to save the day. Getting wrong information can lead to disastrous outcomes. In this talk, I will share experiences from my six years of research in the Empirical Software Engineering Group working with engineers towards sound data-driven decision about software.

Biography: Thomas Zimmermann is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. In the past six years, he worked as a member of the Empirical Software Engineering group on empowering engineers to make sound data-driven decisions about software. Before joining Microsoft, Tom was an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary in Canada. Tom received his PhD from the Saarland University in Germany in 2008. Tom is Co-Editor in Chief for the Empirical Software Engineering journal, General Chair of FSE 2016, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the Mining Software Repositories conference. His favorite Bruce Willis films are Die Hard, Twelve Monkeys, and The Fifth Element. For more information visit