SIGSOFT Annual Report

July 2002 - June 2003

Submitted by: Alexander Wolf, SIGSOFT Chair

SIGSOFT has had a strong year, the second for the current administration. The members of the executive committee have agreed to avoid the time and expense of an election and will continue in their roles for an additional two years. The bylaws are currently being updated to, among other things, change the term of the elected committee to three years with no option to continue. Past Chair David Notkin is leading this effort.

On the awards front, we continued to make our annual service and research awards. This year's ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award was presented to Prof. Axel van Lamsweerde of the University of Louvain, Belgium. We awarded the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award to Prof. Leon Osterweil of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The awards were announced at ICSE 2003 in Portland, with the presentation to Prof. van Lamsweerde taking place at the conference. Prof. Osterweil will receive his award at ESEC/FSE in September 2003, and will give a keynote address. We also continued to award the Most Influential Paper from ICSE N-10, which this year went to the ICSE '93 paper "Expressing the Relationships Between Multiple Views in Requirements Specification", authored by Bashar Nuseibeh, Jeff Kramer, and Anthony Finkelstein. Finally, lead by our Vice Chair, Mary Jean Harrold, we implemented our initiative to have the program committees of SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences name up to 10% of their papers as Distinguished Papers.

Our major conferences continue to be strong. For example, approximately 1000 people attended ICSE in Portland. ICSE 2004 will be held in Edinburgh and ICSE 2005 in St. Louis. We are currently beginning the serious planning for ICSE 2006. Under consideration and negotiation is a proposal to hold the conference in Shanghai. This presents a number of difficult challenges, but potentially a very large impact on a growing center for software development. We are hoping to make the local industry aware of the benefits and strengths of ACM in general and SIGSOFT in particular. The ICSE steering committee, which is responsible for managing the conference series, is currently chaired by at-large executive committee member Jeff Magee.

We continue to make an increasing number of travel awards to students to support their attendance at SIGSOFT-sponsored conferences, under our CAPS (Conference Attendance Program for Students) program. The CAPS program has been managed for several years now by volunteer Betty Cheng of Michigan State University. While we are very pleased with the success of the program, we are trying to understand how to control its growth, since it threatens to have a serious impact on our budget. During this fiscal year, over $13,000 were provided in CAPS travel support, representing approximately a 25% increase over the previous fiscal year. We are happy, however, that the percentage of female CAPS awardees significantly increased as well.

Another effort intended to broaden participation at our conferences is a new program, INDINET, which is being developed by at-large executive committee member Laura Dillon. The goal of the program is to bring greater numbers of women and underrepresented faculty minorities to our conferences as a means to "network" and, hopefully, increase their numbers. We are in the process of developing an NSF proposal to establish the program.

Probably the most significant event for SIGSOFT this past year was a major evolution in the newsletter, Software Engineering Notes (SEN), edited by Will Tracz of Lockheed Martin. First, SEN went from a paper-only production process to a paperless production process. This turned out to be a learning experience as much for the ACM production staff as for the newsletter editor. Second, to save costs, SEN became a hybrid publication in which each of the four non-proceedings issues are now published in two versions: a condensed paper version that is mailed to the SIGSOFT members and a full electronic version available in the ACM Digital Library. The regular columns still appear in their full length in each paper issue. The paper version is budgeted at 32 pages, while previously it was budgeted at 96 pages. We are hoping to cut our costs for SEN nearly in half through this hybrid publication scheme.

ACM is encouraging SIGs to make the evolution to paperless production and web-based publication, but so far has not provided software to aid newsletter editors, who face serious production burdens previously assumed by ACM production staff. For example, we strongly recommended that ACM negotiate a bulk license agreement for software to support newsletter production by the volunteer editors.

In conjunction with the changes to SEN, we initiated a redesign of the SIGSOFT web site. This effort was led by volunteer information director Gianpaolo Cugola and at-large executive committee member David Rosenblum. The new organization is meant to make it easier for people to find the electronic content of SEN, as well as to better serve conference organizers by making it easier for them to find useful organizational materials.

An important initiative that SIGSOFT has engaged in is the Impact Project, whose goals are to conduct a scholarly assessment of the impact of software engineering research on software engineering practice, and to provide a roadmap for future research funding. SIGSOFT obtained a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to partially fund the activities of the group. The principal investigator of the grant is the SIGSOFT Chair, Alexander Wolf. This is a truly international collaboration, with participation from researchers and practitioners from across the world. In addition, the British IEE has provided a grant to support European participation. The Impact project can provide a blueprint for how other ACM SIGs can conduct similar assessments. We are now in the second year of the grant. Two draft reports have appeared in SEN, with a third due to appear within six months. All three are being edited for submission to ACM's software engineering journal TOSEM.