Software Engineering Nederland

From the VERSEN board

On October 5, the VERSEN board members met at the Lorentz center in Leiden to discuss a future strategy for software research in the Netherlands. It was a fruitful day with intensive discussions. In the morning, we had presentations about the role of IPN and the Dutch computer science landscape, the new NWO, and about community building, based on experiences from the security community. In the afternoon, we discussed how to shape future research on software in the Netherlands. Concretely, we have decided to start working on a national strategic research agenda for software, and on March 1, we will have a follow-up meeting to further shape this idea. In addition, we have agreed to work more systematically on a VERSEN community strategy. Ivano Malavolta, Slinger Jansen and Marieke Huisman will take the first steps in this direction (with the help from the communication advisors from the various universities).

Further, we have received multipe nominations for the VERSEN PhD and Master thesis awards. The jury will now make their selection, and results will be announced during the SEN symposium and ICT Open.

Since 2017, VERSEN is a special member of IPN. Originally, Marieke Huisman was the IPN representative for VERSEN, but since last September, Arie van Deursen is our new IPN representative. The membership of IPN allows us to make the voice of software research heard, also at the national level. As an example, in the recent discussions about the sector image and sector plans, software has been listed as one of the focus areas of Dutch computer science research, and we could contribute significantly to the description of this focus area.

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

Software Engineering Technology@ICT Open 2019 – call for submissions

Society and industry is ever more dependent on software, and many organisations crucially depend on business-critical or safety-critical software. Major challenges in the area of software engineering are how to guarantee software reliability, how to have sufficient flexibility to adapt software to new requirements and possibilities, and how to deal with the growing complexity of algorithms and software systems.

The SET track at ICT.OPEN 2019, organised by VERSEN, is a meeting place for researchers and practitioners in the field, as well as for everybody that is interested in understanding how to develop reliable software in a more efficient way. The track will present a selection of the best Dutch research in software technology and engineering of 2018.

We invite researchers to submit their best publication of 2018. Please submit the title, paper abstract, and a link to the published version or a PDF in EasyChair. Deadline for submission is December 21st, 2018. From the submissions we will make a representative selection for presentation. Furthermore, we will select the best SET paper of 2018.

In addition, during the track the Versen PhD award for the best PhD thesis in Software Engineering Technology will be presented.

For information about the Track committee, invited speakers and abstracts, please visit this page.

Lac symposium held in November 2018

Last November the LAC symposium was held in Hertogenbosch and attracted a large number of attendees and architect from all over the Netherlands.

The LAC (Landelijk Architectuur Congres) is the reference event for architecture professionals and researchers in the Netherlands, with a special emphasis on IT architects and professionals, users, CIOs and suppliers in IT. This year, the LAC symposium had over 350 participants, international keynotes, current tracks and interactive in-depth sessions. The full program of the event is available here.

SEN Symposium 2019: Call for Contributions and Participation

The next annual Software Engineering Nederland (SEN) symposium will take place on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at CWI in Amsterdam.

The program will feature a keynote talk (by Roberto Di Cosmo from the Software Heritage initiative), invited presentations by four NL-based software engineering researchers (Davy Landman, Annibale Panichella, Alexander Serebrenik, and Gabriele Keller), research pitches and posters submitted to our open call for contributions, and plenty of time for discussions and networking.

Submission of contributions is possible until January 11, 2019.

Please visit for further information and registration.

We look forward to seeing you at the SEN symposium!

The SEN Symposium 2019 program committee,
Georgios Gousios, Sung-Shik Jongmans and Anna-Lena Lamprecht

ICT.OPEN 2019 Software Engineering Techology Track

ICT.OPEN is a large meeting for all research areas related to ICT organized by the ICT-research Platform Netherlands (IPN). It includes a track on Software Engineering Technology organized by VERSEN.

ICT.OPEN 2019 will be held on March 19 and 20 with the SET track on March 19. We are inviting researchers to submit their best paper of 2018 in software engineering or programming languages so that we can present a representative overview of research in the area. We would also like to invite all researchers in this area to attend ICT.OPEN and the SET track.

The call for abstracts is available here:

Papers spotlight - Study of the VU Software and Services Research Group Accepted at ICSE 2019 Conference

The paper "Scalable Approaches for Test Suite Reduction", authored by Emilio Cruciani (GSSI), Breno Miranda (CIn-UFPE), Roberto Verdecchia(VU & GSSI), and Antonia Bertolino (ISTI-CNR), got recently accepted at the  ICSE 2019 conference. Congrats!

Papers spotlight - Research on Making Sustainability a Quality Property of Software published in the JSS journal

Nelly Condori-Fernandez and Patricia Lago recently published their study titled "Characterizing the contribution of quality requirements to software sustainability" in the International Journal of Syste,s and Software (JSS), great job!

The full paper is available here, and here is the abstract:
Background. Since sustainability became a challenge in software engineering, researchers mainly from requirements engineering and software architecture communities have contributed to defining the basis of the notion of sustainability-aware software.
Problem. Despite these valuable efforts, the assessment and design based on the notion of sustainability as a software quality is still poorly understood. There is no consensus on which sustainability requirements should be considered.
Aim and Method. To fill this gap, a survey was designed with a double objective: i) determine to which extent quality requirements contribute to the sustainability of software-intensive systems; and ii) identify direct dependencies among the sustainability dimensions. The survey involved different target audiences (e.g. software architects, ICT practitioners with expertise in Sustainability). We evaluated the perceived importance/relevance of each sustainability dimension, and the perceived usefulness of exploiting a sustainability model in different software engineering activities.
Results. Most respondents considered modifiability as relevant for addressing both technical and environmental sustainability. Functional correctness, availability, modifiability, interoperability and recoverability favor positively the endurability of software systems. This study has also identified security, satisfaction, and freedom from risk as very good contributors to social sustainability. Satisfaction was also considered by the respondents as a good contributor to economic sustainability.

Awards - Davy Landman awarded IPA dissertation award

Davy Landman has been awarded the Institute for Programming research and Algorithmics (IPA) Dissertation Award 2018 for his thesis "Reverse engineering source code: Empirical studies of limitations and opportunities".

Each year, IPA grants an award to the IPA PhD student who wrote the best IPA thesis, published in the IPA dissertation series in the preceding calendar year. In his thesis Landman studied the automation of software renovation by using Reverse Engineering.

He explored the limits of domain model recovery by manually recovering domain models. Comparing these models to a manually constructed reference domain model he found that most domain information could be recovered - with high quality - from the source code. This suggests a bright future for automated reverse engineering of domain model from source code.

Secondly he shows that, in contradiction to what has been widely assumed up until now, Cyclomatic Complexity and Lines of Code are not linearly correlated. This indicates that it remains useful to keep considering the cyclomatic complexity and lines of code separately. This result is of great importance theoretically, but also practically.

The third key contribution of Landman's dissertation is that he shows that almost all Java source code relies on reflection. Given the current analysis tools, this means that  Java code cannot be fully checked for safety and correctness.

Davy performed his research while working at CWI's SWAT group. After finishing his PhD, together with Paul Klint and Jurgen Vinju he started a spinoff called, together with Paul Klint and Jurgen Vinju. The IPA dissertation award committee applauded the fact that Landman is actively working on the valorisation of  his research results through setting up his own company.

The award consisted of a monetary reward of 1000 Euro and an official certificate, which was handed to Landman during a special session dedicated to the IPA Dissertation Award 2018 at the IPA Fall Days, on Monday October 29th. His presentation of his research results, but especially also of lessons learned and advise for current PhD students, was well received by the PhD students attending.

Awards - Top-5 ranking of Software Engineering authors in the topic of Architecture

In a recent international ranking of Software Engineering researchers, Prof. Paris Avgeriou from the University of Groningen, was ranked among the top 5 for the topic of ‘Architecture’ in the period 2008-2018. The ranking was published in IEEE Software in a special issue celebrating the 50th anniversary of the field of Software Engineering. The ranking uses the weighted PageRank algorithm that takes into account citations as well as how often researchers collaborate with each other. The topic of Software Architecture (one out of eleven topics in the ranking) is the main focus of the group of Prof. Avgeriou.

Awards - Best paper award for the verification of the ERTMS protocol

The best paper award of FMICS 2018 was awarded to the paper  "Modelling and Analysing ERTMS Hybrid Level 3 with the mCRL2 toolset" by Maarten Bartholomeus, Bas Luttik en Tim Willemse. Congrats!

The paper is available here. This paper shows how the mCRL2 toolset can be used to get insight in the ERTMS protocol. The ERTMS is the protocol for rail traffic control prescribed by the European Union that will be used for all train traffic throughout Europe. 

New people - Jeroen Keiren will become UD in Eindhoven

Jeroen Keiren will start working as UD at Eindhoven University of Technology. Jeroen Keiren will work on software verification using parameterised boolean equation systems. 

He will succeed Julien Schmaltz who accepted a job at the company Embedded ICT. 

VU Computer Science students and the Green Office join forces for sustainability

This academic year the students attending the course on ‘Service Oriented Design’ worked in team-projects focused on designing software that helps reducing food waste in the VU cafeterias and create awareness in both students, employees and third-party organizations.

The project was in collaboration with the VU Green Office (Vlad George Stan). The details about the project are available here

The course is part of the Computer Science Master Track Software Engineering and Green IT, preparing the next generation of IT specialists for a sustainable digital society. Interested? Contact prof.dr. Patricia Lago <>

Interesting read: 50 years software crisis

The famous  NATO Software Engineering Conference where the term 'software crisis' was coined was held 50 years ago, in October 1968. To commemorate this, on November 11, the Volkskrant published an article on 50 years software crisis, interviewing Jan Friso Groote and Marieke Huisman. If you did not read it yet, you can find it on the VERSEN website (in Dutch).