Software Engineering Nederland

From the VERSEN board

Many things have happened within the VERSEN community over the last months. In January, we had a very interesting SEN symposium with excellent talks. On that day, the first VERSEN honorary fellowships were awarded, and the winners of the VERSEN Master thesis awards were announced. During the SEN symposium, Patricia Lago stepped down as the vice-chair of VERSEN, and I would like to use this opportunity to thank her once more for all her contributions to VERSEN. Paris Avgeriou (Groningen) is the new vice-chair of VERSEN.

Unfortunately, very recently, one of the first VERSEN honorary fellows, Doaitse Swierstra, passed away in the beginning of March. We will remember Doaitse for his contributions to software science, but also for his unique personality. The video that his former PhD student Tanja Vos prepared for the SEN symposium gives a very good impression of how we will remember Doaitse.

Because of the Coronavirus, ICT.Open, including the VERSEN track had to be cancelled. We hope that there will be a later possibility to have this event. Because of this, the announcement about the VERSEN PhD awards had to be done in a digital way.

Finally, we have started planning the first meeting with the VERSEN advisory board. The software manifesto and the VERSEN visual have been published on the VERSEN website. And of course, also the look and feel of our website itself has been updated.

On behalf of the VERSEN board members,
Marieke Huisman (chair)


Next events - European Conference on Software Architecture (ECSA 2020) - call for contributions

The ECSA 2020 Organizing Committee extends its sympathies to all of those impacted by COVID-19, in any form, and in any place worldwide. 

If you are planning your workshop proposal, your research or industry paper submission, or other papers submissions for ECSA 2020, don’t stop your work. All due dates are still in effect, specifically:

  • 6 Apr 2020: Workshops proposals
  • 4 May 2020: Research and Industry tracks
  • 10 June 2020: Other papers submissions

More detailed information about the conference, tracks, and available keynotes are available on the  ECSA 2020 website. 


News - Free lecture notes on software testing by TU Delft

The Software Engineering Research Group at TU Delft (@serg_delft) opened their software testing lecture notes. It currently contains 14 full chapters, 52k words, 63 videos, and 82 exercises.

See it at

License: CC-BY-NC-SA.

VERSEN Supports the FAIR Software Initiative

The VERSEN Board has decided to vocally endorse the FAIR Software Initiative and the Five Fair Principles. The FAIR principles are a concept which originated in data management. The acronym stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. They have served as a flagship for promoting good data management practices, but until recently they were not directly applicable to software. We hope that the FAIR principles will have a positive effect in research software development.

The five principles are:

  • use a publicly available repository with version control
  • add a license
  • register your code in a community repository
  • enable software citation
  • use a software quality checklist

Regarding FAIR:

  • these are simple first steps that should help educate researchers that create software about what to do with it. Each step comes with detailed/concrete guidelines to help them on their way.
  • the fair software principles are intentionally not very complete (one step at a time, and the designers have taken care to avoid most subjectivitity around software quality).
  • the initiative lifts purposefully on the "fair principles" for research data and the communities already existent around data analytics; that’s a smart way of putting software quality on the agenda of stakeholders in data analytics (!)
  • endorsed already by NWO, Dans, CWI, SSI, KB, eScience center.  see

For more information about our endorsement, please contact

Doaitse Swierstra Passed Away

With great sadness we announce that last Tuesday (March 3, 2020) at the age of 69 Doaitse Swierstra died in his hometown of Tynaarlo. Doaitse successfully fought cancer for the past months and with his healing in sight he dared to make cautious plans for the future. It is very sad that he can no longer realize those plans due to an accident.

Many of us will know Doaitse as a professor of Software Technology at Utrecht University (1983-2013). He was also known for his love for functional programming languages and attribute grammars.

In January 2020, he became VERSEN Honorary Fellow in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of software engineering. And with that, he was recognized by our community as fundamental to the success of our field.

Doaitse was straightforward and always ready to help others. Many will remember him as a very socially involved person with a very good heart. We will miss our colleague and friend.

We wish his family, relatives and friends a lot of strength in dealing with this loss.


Tot onze ontzetting is afgelopen dinsdag (3 maart 2020) op 69-jarige leeftijd Doaitse Swierstra in zijn woonplaats Tynaarlo overleden. Doaitse heeft de afgelopen maanden succesvol gevochten tegen kanker en met zijn genezing in zicht durfde hij al voorzichtig toekomstplannen te maken. Het is erg triest dat hij door een ongeval die plannen niet meer kan verwezenlijken.

Velen van ons zullen Doaitse kennen als hoogleraar SoftwareTechnologie aan de Universiteit Utrecht (1983-2013). Ook was hij bekend voor zijn voorliefde voor functionele programmeertalen en attributen-grammatica’s.

In januari 2020 nog werd hij VERSEN Honorary Fellow als waardering voor zijn uitstekende bijdragen op het gebied van software-engineering. En daarmee werd hij door onze gemeenschap erkend als fundamenteel voor het succes van ons veld.

Doaitse was rechtdoorzee en stond altijd klaar om anderen te helpen. Velen zullen hem herinneren als een  zeer sociaal betrokken mens met een heel goed hart. Wij zullen onze collega en vriend gaan missen.

Wij wensen zijn familie en verdere nabestaanden en vrienden veel sterkte toe bij het verwerken van dit verlies. 

New Design web site

It is with great pride that we can announce that hereby the new web site is online. Credit goes to dr. Ivano Malavolta (project management), Alessio D'Arielli (design:, and Peter Duijnstee (technical integration,

For any questions or comments, please contact us at

VERSEN PhD Awards 2020

The VERSEN PhD Thesis Awards have been created to encourage excellent research in the domain of Software Engineering in the Netherlands. In 2020 we are again able to award the VERSEN PhD thesis awards with support of NWO and HCL Technologies

The members of the jury, Jan Friso Groote, Slinger Jansen, and Patricia Lago, used the following criteria for judging:

  • Novelty to and impact in the field promoted by VERSEN.
  • Timeliness.
  • Quality of the thesis report and associated artifacts.
  • Methodological approach and execution.

Due to the cancellation of ICT Open and the VERSEN track, we have had to cancel the VERSEN PhD Thesis Award Ceremony. That said, we are able to announce the winners in this manner. 

The winners of the VERSEN PhD award are:

  1. dr. Moritz Beller (Technical University Delft) with the thesis "An Empirical Evaluation of Feedback-Driven Software Development", supervised by Prof. dr. Andy Zaidman, dr. Georgios Gousios, and Prof. dr. Arie van Deursen.
  2. dr. Marcus Gerhold (Twente University) with the thesis "Choice and Chance: Model-Based Testing of Stochastic Behaviour" supervised by Prof. dr. Marielle Stoelinga and Prof. dr. Jaco van de Pol.
  3. dr. Vincent Bloemen (Twente University) with the thesis "Strong Connectivity and Shortest Paths for Checking Models" supervised by Prof. dr. Jaco van de Pol and Prod. dr. Wil van der Aalst.

We want to congratulate the winners and thank their supervisors for submitting their excellent theses. 

VERSEN Manifesto

In 2019 and 2020 the VERSEN has been working on a Manifesto, entitled "Manifesto on Software Research and Education in the Netherlands".  

The full Manifesto can be downloaded here in PDF format. There is also an easy to print exerpt available.

The manifesto has been covered in the I/O Magazine (find the actual publication here, March edition). Please find the exerpt from I/O magazine here.

Any updates about the Manifesto can be found on this page.

News - Interview with the VERSEN board in the I/O magazine

The recent issue of the I/O magazine features an interview with the VERSEN board (Marieke Huisman, Patricia Lago, Alexander Serebrenik) on the role of software engineering and software engineering research. 

"Software is the engine that powers all CS developments like AI and cyber security. Although for many people this engine is invisible, it is so fundamental that we need to understand how to do it right."

The full article is available here, enjoy and spread it around!


Projects - Outreach project "Beauty and Joy of Computing" in Dutch schools

The National Association of Vice-deans of the Exact Science Faculties has decided to fund the outreach project "Beauty and Joy of Computing in het Nederlands (BJoC-NL) van, voor en door docenten en leerlingen" jointly submitted by Ramon Moorlag (National association of computer science secondary school teachers, i&i), Felienne Hermans (University of Leiden) and Alexander Serebrenik (Eindhoven University of Technology).

"Beauty and Joy of Computing" is a computer science course designed at the University of California, Berkeley. This course aims at introducing programming to secondary school students by stressing creativity without compromising on programming skills. "Beauty and Joy of Computing" has successfully attracted more female students than ever before.

In our previous project, supported by the 4TU federation we have focussed on translating the basic parts of "Beauty and Joy of Computing" to Dutch and adapting it to the societal context of the Netherlands. The new project will help us to finalise the translation as well as to deploy it in several schools.

Curious to see our work or join the translation effort? Check


New people & guests - Andrea Capiluppi new Associate Professor at the University of Groningen

Andrea Capiluppi is appointed as Associate Professor at the University of Groningen. He will be joining the Software Engineering group.

Andrea’s research and teaching interests focus on Software Evolution and Maintenance, as well as the construction, evaluation and maintenance of Social Networks. Andrea is mostly interested in the use of open technologies and in understanding how they can improve learning and teaching as well as the production of software and other artefacts.

PhD defences - Session-Based Concurrency: Between Operational and Declarative Views

On January 7, Mauricio Cano successfully defended his PhD thesis "Session-Based Concurrency: Between Operational and Declarative Views" at the University of Groningen.

In his thesis, supervised by Prof. dr. Jorge A. Pérez and Prof. dr. Gerard Renardel, Mauricio presents a comprehensive study of formal programming models for message-passing concurrency and of their associated verification techniques.

This PhD work concerns theory of programming, with practical implications. His research develops results of relative expressiveness to integrate program specifications written in operational and declarative styles. A recurrent topic in Mauricio's work is the use of advanced type systems to characterize the correctness of such relative expressiveness results. 

Well done, Mauricio!

News - "Digitalize for the Environment!": A guide for practitioners from nine universities worldwide

Patricia Lago and colleagues from altogether nine well-known universities from different parts of the world have produced a guide called "Digitalize for the Environment!".

The guide is aimed at municipalities and companies wanting to explore and realize the potential of digitalization. It is completely open source and available here.


Awards - VERSEN Msc Thesis Awards 2019

On January 31st two Msc Thesis Awards were given for two excellent master's thesis. The two winning candidates are:

  1. First Msc Thesis Award: Nathan Cassee with the thesis entitled "The impact of continuous integration on open-source code reviews: how increasing automation changes software engineering practices", supervised by dr. Alexander Serebrenik at TU Eindhoven.
  2. Second Msc Thesis Award: Johri van Eerd with the thesis entitled "Parallel term rewriting on GPUs" supervised by Anton Wijs at TU Eindhoven.

The first award is a cash prize and free entry to ICT Open. The second award is a free entry to ICT Open. The thesis awards are supported by NWO and HCL Technologies.

For more information on the thesis awards, please visit this page.

Photo on the left: Award Ceremony for Nathan Cassee. Photo on the right: Award Ceremony for Johri van Eerd.


News - First VERSEN honorary fellows

During the last SEN symposium, the first VERSEN honorary fellowships have been awarded to honour emeritus professors for their contributions to software research in the Netherlands.

The first VERSEN honorary fellows are:

  • Mehmet Aksit
  • Farhad Arbab
  • Jan Bergstra
  • Paul Klint
  • Rinus Plasmeijer
  • Doaitse Swierstra
  • Hans van Vliet
  • Roel Wieringa

During the SEN symposium, each of them was honoured by a former colleague in short video. Additional information, photos, and videos of the ceremony are available here.



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