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5th Year: First Doctoral Theses based on Research at our Department, Approval of Consortial Project with Industrial Partners, Appointment as Chair of International Conference

2006


Thanks to the effort, the commitment and the cohesion of particularly capable and loyal staff members the department can record also for the past, in many respects quite tempestuous year, an evident growth in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Among the most gratifying highlights of the reporting period the following events should be chronicled beforehand:

1. First two PhD Theses based on projects of the department of Software Engineering: two of the research projects started 2002 at the department could progress to such a point as to provide the bases for two doctoral theses, whose originality and quality were meanwhile confirmed by external reviewers: namely the project .gEAr on automatic test case generation and the project Tricos on integration of pre-developed software components by extended interface description, where the latter one is based on preparatory research activities carried out on the Research Campus in Garching near Munich previous to the foundation of the department.

2. Approval of research proposal UnITed (Automatic test data generation to support incremental model and code based testing procedures for highly reliable software systems) by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economy, Infrastructure, Transportation and Technology within the Programme "Information und Communication Technology": The underlying idea is the efficient synergism of basic research, innovative tool development and active industrial participation. The cooperative work with AFRA GmbH aims at automating the testing phase of safety-critical software with high reliability demands to an amount by far exceeding the state-of-the-art, thus contributing to increase fault detection in complex software at reduced costs. The automated testing procedure is to be implemented by a number of tools and evaluated in a real-world medical industry environment.

3. Appointment as Conference Chair of the 26th international Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security (Safecomp 2007) by the European Workshops on Industrial Computer Systems (EWICS).

Teaching

The courses offered at the department of Software Engineering are meanwhile addressed to students of the study courses Computer Science, Business Information Technology, Computational Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Mechatronics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Linguistics and Computer Science Teacher Education. In the reporting period 2006 the department curriculum included for the first time compulsory lectures in software engineering for information and communication technology students. Also these lectures enjoyed the approval and the interest of the audience as shown by evaluation marks higher than average in all categories of the questionnaire filled by the attendants, whose successors in the coming year we cordially welcome.

Focus of research

The main research area "Development and Assessment of Highly Reliable Complex Software Systems" covers the avoidance and detection of logical faults during program specification, design and implementation, as well as the evaluation of reliability achieved by the end product. In addition to using (semi-) formal notations to represent and analyse problems and software-based solutions, the Department of Software Engineering contributes to the support of new, rigorous testing techniques, in particular by reducing the effort they require. This research goal includes both white-box and grey-box testing strategies aimed at fault detection at early development stages, as well as random-based black-box testing for the purpose of estimating the expected frequency of undetected faults on the basis of statistical sampling theory.

Research Co-operations

1. Industrial Co-operations

The already existing industrial contacts, especially in the Franconian region were intensified and expanded. In addition to the particular scientific liaison with AFRA GmbH and Siemens AG Medical Solutions in the context of the above mentioned consortium UnITeD, the following industrial co-operations especially deserve being mentioned:

As usually, the software engineering problems addressed in the above projects concerned theoretical and general scientific investigations followed by their practical application to the particular needs of a specific industrial context.

2. International Scientific Co-operations

Also 2006 the Department of Software Engineering contributed in its steering role within the European Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems (EWICS) and the European Network of Clubs for Reliability and Safety of Software-based Systems (ENCRESS) to the organisation of the Annual SAFECOMP Series Conference (the 25th International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security), which took place in September 2006 in Gdansk (Poland), attracting a considerable number of research and industrial attendants and offering the opportunity for presenting and publishing research carried out at our department.

At the occasion of an exploration tour touching a number of German Universities Boeing Research and Technology selected a number of research topics arising the interest of the American aerospace industry, a.o. the topic addressed by the department project .gEAr, about which the scientist Norbert Oster reported in his talk "Automatic Generation and Optimization of Software Test Data".

3. National Scientific Co-operations

Highlight of the activities within the Steering committee on Safety and Security of the German Computer Society (GI) was the organisation of the Third Annual Congress on Safety and Security, which took place in Magdeburg at the Otto-von-Guericke University in February 2006 and to which the department of Software Engineering contributed both organisationally and technically. In her function as member of the conference chairing board the head of department organized a one-day workshop consisting of three sessions devoted to safety, which revealed capable of attracting also numerous colleagues belonging to the security community. In the course of this workshop an integrated approach on safety and security developed at the department was presented under the title "Interaction between Functional Safety and Data Security".

In October 2006 the conference "Automotive Safety and Security" was held for the second time at the University of Stuttgart, attracting a high number of representatives of German automobile industries. Also this year the organisation of this event was shared by several groups within the GI-section on safety and security, among them the ENCRESS group coordinated at the department of Software Engineering.

Moreover, a seminar on software reliability held at ZF Friedrichshafen gave occasion to an interesting encounter and discussion with industrial attendants.

Finally, via the technical group ENCRESS the department of Software Engineering was also involved in the organisation of the 4th workshop "Dependability and Fault Tolerance", which was held in March 2006 in Frankfurt am Main, in conjunction with the 18th International Conference on Architecture of Computing Systems - System Aspects in Organic Computing (ARCS '06).

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