Software Engineering Nederland

From the VERSEN board

Exciting times for the VERSEN board! We are currently busy setting up an advisory board for VERSEN with representatives from industry and policy makers. We hope that the advisory board can help us to strengthen our message about the importance of software research.

One of the things that we hope to discuss soon with the members of the advisory board is the Software Manifesto. Next week, we will also collect feedback on the manifesto from the IPN members, and during the Dutch Digital week, we hope to present the Software Manifesto to a wider audience.

The VERSEN board has also decided to create a honorary fellowship to honour emeriti professors and other researchers for their contributions to the software research community. During the SEN symposium on January 31st, the first honorary fellowships will be awarded.

Finally, we have received a nice number of nominations for the VERSEN Master and PhD thesis award. The VERSEN Master thesis award will be handed out during the SEN symposium, the VERSEN PhD thesis award during ICT.Open.

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

Awards and prizes - Best paper award for Wytse Oortwijn and Marieke Huisman at iFM 2019

Wytse Oortwijn (now at ETH Zurich) and Marieke Huisman (University of Twente) received a best paper award for their paper: "Practical Abstractions for Automated Verification of Message Passing Concurrency" at IFM 2019: 15th International Conference on Integrated Formal Methods.


Awards and prizes - 2 Master thesis prizes for Sophie Lathouwers

Sophie Lathouwers, PhD student at the University of Twente, received two prizes for her Master thesis "Reasoning About the Correctness of Sanitizers".

She received the Greenhost prize of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen for the best thesis on Internet & Technical Sciences.

She also received the 2nd prize for the KNVI Thesis prize for Computer Science and Information Science 2019.

Sophie’s Master thesis was supervised by Marieke Huisman, Maarten Everts (University of Twente) and Martijn Hoogesteger (Northwave).

Great job, congrats Sophie! 


Projects - Marielle Stoelinga receives ERC Consolidator Grant

Self-driving cars, drones, the Internet of Things; these are just a few of the technologies that could have a significant impact on our lives in the coming years. But this also means that we must carefully weigh the risks against the potential benefits. University of Twente Professor of Risk Management for High-Tech Systems Mariëlle Stoelinga, has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council that will allow her to develop a new and superior model for making improved and integrated assessments that take both safety and security risks into account. 


PhD defences - A unit-aware matrix language and its application in control and auditing

Programming computers is difficult, especially if you want programs to work correctly. There are heated debates on the best methods to reach this. To better understand what programming is and how it should be done, Gauthier van den Hove reconstructed and analyzed the first ALGOL 60 system. He defended his PhD thesis "New Insights from Old Programs - The Structure of the First ALGOL 60 System" at the UvA. Van den Hove's results are not only interesting for computer scientists, but also for science historians and philosophers. The thesis has a foreword written by the famous American computer science pioneer and Turing Award winner Donald Knuth. 

Prof. Donald Knuth, who is also known for creating the TeX typesetting system, wrote the foreword to this thesis in 2017. Knuth: "The present book is a major addition to the literature. It is destined to become a classic, because it not only unveils the beauty of a profoundly original and influential computer program, it also explains the enormous significance of this program. This fascinating book serves as a model of historical scholarship: It proves that great software makes a great story, without skimping on details." 

Gauthier van den Hove tells about his research: "Much can be learned about computer programming and its methods by studying exemplary programs. I reconstructed a particular well-crafted computer program: the first ALGOL 60 system, designed and implemented at the Mathematical Center (MC, now CWI) by Edsger Dijkstra and Jaap Zonneveld, with the assistance of Fiek Christen and Marlene Rgens, on an Electrologica X1 computer. My research consists of three parts. First, the two facets of the problem that the MC team was facing - the ALGOL 60 language and the X1 computer. Second, the principles of its solution - the implementation choices made by the MC team compared to other possibilities. Third, the details of the MC ALGOL 60 system, reverse engineered from its X1 assembler source." 

Van den Hove's promotor Prof. Paul Klint (CWI and UvA) adds: "It's a unique reconstruction and analysis of one of the most influential compilers in the history of computer science".  Prof. Donald Knuth writes in his foreword: "Large computer programs represent some of the most significant intellectual achievements in human history. Well-written books about such masterworks will inevitably rub off on programmers young and old, inspiring us to continue extending our reach." 

This research has been carried out in the Software Analysis and Transformation (SWAT) research group at CWI in Amsterdam, and was funded by NWO.

PhD defences - PhD thesis Wytse Oortwijn

On December 12, Wytse Oortwijn defended his PhD thesis "Deductive Techniques for Model-based Concurrency Verification" at the University of Twente. His supervisor was prof.dr. M. Huisman from the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.
In his thesis, Wytse describes practical and reliable verification techniques for global behavioural properties of real-world concurrent and distributed software. 

Wytse is now working as a post doc at ETH Zurich in the group of Prof. Peter Müller.


Projects - Ivano Malavolta and Patricia Lago receive a Horizon 2020 grant for their uDEVOPS project

Ivano Malavolta and Patricia Lago, both at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, receive a Horizon 2020 grant for their uDEVOPS project. 

The objective of the project is to form an international and inter-sectoral network of organisations working on a joint research programme in the field of software quality assurance for Microservice development operations engineering processes. 

The project is funded by the European Community, Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, call H2020-MSCA-RISE-2019.


Projects - Ivano Malavolta receives NWO Open Competition Domain Science XS individual grant

With his project titled "Green Tactics for Robotics Software", Ivano Malavolta, assistant professor at the VU receives an NWO Open Competition Domain Science XS grant.

The project is funding a postdoc position for 9 months or a scientific programmer position for 12 months, so if you know someone who may be interested in the position, please get in touch with Ivano Malavolta ( The project is planned to start next March 2020.    

Abstract. From autonomous vehicles, to healthcare, and even in outer space, robots are part of our daily life. Energy is a critical factor for robotic systems, especially for mobile robots where energy is a finite resource (e.g., surveillance autonomous rovers). However, despite the advances in electronics and mechanics, one of the main barriers in robotics is software, since it is becoming massively large, complex, and difficult to measure. The project will break this barrier by allowing roboticists to design energy-efficient robotics software via experimentally-validated green tactics. Green tactics will emerge by mining millions of lines of code of real- world robotics software.


Projects - Patricia Lago, Anna Bon, and Wendelien Tuyp received a grant from the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI) on food security in developing countries

Patricia Lago, Anna Bon, and Wendelien Tuyp received a grant from the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI) on food security in developing countries. 

The objectives of the project are:

  • Goal-ICT: to focus on the ICT needs, and frame the sustainability concerns relevant for designing context-sensitive solutions for food security in developing countries.
  • Goal-Social: to study the policy context and constraints, and aim at formulating a policy that helps optimizing the aids meant to help sustainable livelihoods for farmers at the local level.

This research will pilot the application of an interdisciplinary approach called “Decision Maps” so far applied to ICT solutions for Urban Futures, on the question of how to improve the seed production in Mali in a sustainable
way. It does so based on locally-collected information from the farmers and farmer organizations.


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