SIGSOFT Annual Report

July 1999 - June 2000

Submitted by: David Notkin, SIGSOFT Chair

On behalf of SIGSOFT's membership and leadership, I'm happy to report that we've had another strong year. We've continued our annual service and research awards. Our Distinguished Service Award was presented to Marv Zelkowitz, who has served the community in numerous ways for several decades. Our Outstanding Research Award was awarded to Vic Basili, for his many numerous contributions to research, especially in empirical and experimental software engineering. As always, SIGSOFT members were well represented in the ACM Fellows that were named this year. (On the negative side, SIGSOFT --- in particular, I --- have to follow through on two specific issues: putting the "Distinguished Papers" into official form; and putting the research and service award process into a more visible and clear state.) Our conference program continues with great success. We've signed an agreement to hold the annual SIGSOFT (FSE, Foundations of Software Engineering) conference in 2001, 2003, and 2005 jointly with the European Software Engineering Conference, as we did in 1997 and 1999, as well. This continues building international relationships and also addresses head-on the problem we see with an unncessary and costly proliferation of conferences in software engineering. Both FSE and ISSTA (our testing and analysis conference) will be held on the West Coast of the US this year, with strong planning and leadership teams in place for both. ICSE 2000 was a success in Limerick, Ireland; next year, we'll be in Toronto for ICSE, the first Canadian instance of the conference. I'd like to thank --- really, since it's a thankless task! --- all the people, especially the leadership teams, who have made the SIGSOFT conferences of the last year such a success.

The two major issues with respect to conferences that we continue to address are related ones: one, we are still working to reduce the conferences in software engineering, while trying to use workshops as a way to cover new and emerging (as well as established) areas in more depth; two, we are working to design a calendar where conferences don't step on each others' toes. This is hard enough with our own conferences, and it's almost unimaginably hard given those conferences created by other organizations. (Alex Wolf, vice-chair, has been working these issues constantly, and I truly appreciate it.)

One of our key goals this year was to increase cooperation with some other SIGs, especially PLAN. We continue to work with PLAN on PASTE (Program Analysis for Software Tools and Engineering), have established PLAN as providing on-going "in cooperation" status with our major conferences. We also anticipated that we'll work with CHI, GROUP, and MOD in organizing another WACC (International Joint Conference on Work Activities and Coordination and Collaboration).

We're thrilled that the Pubs Board has named Carlo Ghezzi as the new EIC of TOSEM. Replacing Axel van Lamsweerde's is impossible, but Carlo is an absolutely first-rate researcher and leader who will further increase TOSEM's quality and reputation. (One other success this year was the TOSEM was finally added to the ISI Citation Index, after a battle that took many, many years.) And, it cannot be said loudly enough that we have a terrific newsletter, Software Engineering Notes, due largely to the continued dedication of Will Tracz.

The issues swirling around "software engineering as a profession" continue to be a discussion within the SIGSOFT community. SIGSOFT itself has no public position on these issues, although ACM has taken a number of actions. The SIGSOFT leadership and membership are divided on these issues. However, we feel uniformly that the public discussion of these important issues continues to be in the interest of society and the software engineering community.

The final note is the usual one: our membership role continues to decrease, consistent with most other SIGs. Despite significant thought and attention, we're still unsure what to do or how to think about this.