No modeling papers at ICSE (once again)

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What you can read below, is the text I wrote after ICSE 2013. Unfortunately, three years later the situation is exactly the same. And it’s not just me who says this.

From the “Insights and Lessons Learned from Analyzing ICSE 2016 Survey and Review Data” report written the ICSE 2016 PC Chairs

There were 3 topics that had no papers accepted: Autonomic and (self­) adaptive systems; Model-driven engineering and Specification; and modeling languages. Note that each of these topics had a fair number of submissions.

and

What might need some attention is the fact that Model­-driven engineering for the 2nd year in a row got zero papers accepted (out of 40 submitted the last 2 years).

While the ICSE community is having deep discussions on the announced ICSE submission cap, I think a discussion on why some topics are under represented at ICSE also deserves the attention of the community. Otherwise, there is the risk ICSE ends up being ICS with a close focus on program analysis, testing and software verification topics.

(and before you start scanning the titles of this year and suggest that there were indeed a few papers on modeling, two things: 1 – we are talking about technical research papers and 2 – any technical research paper you see you believe it could be a modeling paper was not classified as such by the paper authors).

Enter myself three years ago.

The program for the ICSE 2013 conference is now online .

To be honest, I’m very disappointed by the list of accepted papers. Once again, papers on modeling (our sense of the word modeling, i.e. model checking papers do not count) are clearly the exception. I don’t really understand why; it’s fine that not all software engineers believe in the full and automatic generation of software from models (i.e. executable models) but model-driven engineering is much more than this and covers the use of models in other software engineering tasks (like reverse engineering) with different degrees of formalism and precision. I can’t believe that any software engineer would argue than creating a model of a system is a bad practice.

As such, if we all agree that modeling (in the broadest sense of the word) is an important element in software engineering, why is not better represented in the (supposedly) best research conference in software engineering? I have no idea. Surprisingly, the MiSE workshop (Modeling in Software Engineering), co-located with ICSE has been around for several years now and seems to be quite successful (I’ve attended a couple of editions but of course my opinion is not objective) but this does not results in more modeling papers in the main conference.

On a side note, my feeling is that the papers are more about the “software” than the “engineering” side of software engineering. Only with the titles is difficult to provide a precise analysis but I don’t see many papers dealing with the engineering aspects of software development/maintenance…

Of course, maybe I’m just angry because my two submissions were rejected. We’ll try again next year, hoping to fill one of the few “modeling paper” slots that will be available (based on the observed trend).

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