ICSE Shanghai 2006

28th International Conference on Software Engineering

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Conference: May 20-28, 2006 | Main Program: May 24-26, 2006 | Co-located Events / Workshops / Tutorials: May 20-24 & 27-28, 2006
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Case Studies for Software Engineers

F2: Case Studies for Software Engineers

Sunday, May 21, 2006 - Full Day


Dewayne Perry, The University of Texas at Austin, USA, perry@ece.utexas.edu
Susan Sim, University of California, Irvine, USA, ses@ics.uci.edu
Steve Easterbrook, University of Toronto, Canada, sme@cs.toronto.edu


The purpose of this full-day tutorial is to demonstrate the correct use and interpretation of case studies in software engineering. It will help software engineers identify and avoid common mistakes by giving them a solid grounding in the fundamentals of case studies as a research method. Using an equal blend of lecture and discussion, it aims to provide software engineers with a foundation for conducting, reviewing, and reading case studies. For researchers, this tutorial will provide a starting point for learning how to conduct case studies. They will be able to find, assess, and apply appropriate resources at their home institution. For reviewers, the tutorial will provide guidance on how to judge the quality and validity of reported case studies. They will be able to use the criteria presented in this tutorial to assess whether research papers based on case studies are suitable for publication, allowing them to raise the quality of publications and give appropriate feedback to authors. For practitioners, the tutorial will provide a better awareness of how to interpret the claims made by researchers about new software engineering methods and tools. Practitioners will also gain deeper insights into the roles they can play in designing and conducting case studies in collaborative research projects. As well, they will read case studies more effectively and be better able to identify results suitable for use in their workplace.


Dewayne E. Perry is a Professor and the Motorola Regents Chair of Software Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. The first half of his computing career was spent as a professional software engineer, with the latter part combining both research (as a visiting faculty member in Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University) and consulting in software architecture and design. The next 16 years were spent doing software engineering research at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill NJ. He moved to UT Austin in January 2000. His research interests (in the context of software system evolution) are empirical studies, formal models of the software processes, process and product support environments, software architecture, and the practical use of formal specifications and techniques. He is particularly interested in the role architecture plays in the coordination of multi-site software development as well as its role in capitalizing on company software assets in the context of product lines. His empirical work began early in his career as a practicing software engineer as part of the evolution of systems that he helped to build (for example, determining the most useful disc scheduling algorithm for use in a domain specific distributed system). Case studies and other forms of empirical work formed the basis of his research at Bell Laboratories, resulting in the publication of a wide variety of empirical studies. His empirical work continues at UT Austin, with several empirical student theses as well as a graduate course on empirical studies in software engineering.

Susan Elliott Sim is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Irvine. She has extensive experience with a wide range of empirical methods, including experiments, case studies, ethnography, surveys, and benchmarks. Her Ph.D. thesis develops a theory of benchmarking in software engineering. She has developed two benchmarks, which are now widely used in the reverse engineering community, the xfig structured demonstration for program comprehension tools, and CppETS for C++ fact extractors. Prof. Sim also played an instrumental role in the development of GXL (Graph eXchange Language), a data interchange language for reverse engineering tools. GXL has been ratified as the standard exchange format in the reverse engineering and graph transformation communities. She has held research fellowships at Sun Microsystems, IBM Canada Centre for Advanced Studies, Telepresence Systems Inc. and the National Research Council (Canada). She has published widely in the reverse engineering community, has chaired numerous workshops, and organized a series of community-based comparative evaluations and benchmarks.

Steve Easterbrook is a Professor at the University of Toronto. He received his PhD in 1991 from Imperial College, London, where he specialized in negotiation and communication of software requirements. He joined the faculty in the School of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, where he pioneered new degree programs in human-centered software design, leading an interdisciplinary team of cognitive and social psychologists, human-computer interaction specialists and computer scientists. From 1995 to 1999, he led the research team at NASAís Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in West Virginia. During this time he investigated techniques and processes for software verification, and acted as an expert advisor for NASA on the independent assessment and IV&V contracts for the Space Shuttle Flight Software, the International Space Station, the Earth Observation System, as well as several planetary probes. In 1999 he joined the faculty at U of T, where he continues his research and teaching in software verification, requirements and systems analysis and software engineering. He has published over 50 papers in software engineering, including pioneering work on the introduction of formal verification techniques into software practice, and on managing inconsistencies in software specifications. He served as general chair for REí01, and has served on the program committee for many conferences and workshops in Requirements Engineering and Software Engineering.

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