Preface - IEEE ISSRE 2009 Proceedings

Welcome to the 20th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE 2009). This is the first time this conference is being held in India, and it is fitting that we hold it in the Bengaluru-Mysuru area, since Bengaluru is the IT capital of India.

This is a huge opportunity for us all. We touch in one place, one of the largest cross sections representing the computer industry worldwide, since most large software and IT companies have operations here. And we also come in contact with one of the fastest growing and youthful software technical workforce in the world.

At ISSRE, we are excited that a goal we set for ourselves a few years ago, through our process improvement efforts, is coming to fruition. We have grown into a conference of high impact by catering to two closely connected but separate technical communities - the research / academic body and the industry / practices body. While these are synergistically coupled, it is a rarity when a conference connects both these parts as strongly as we do. We have noted that in recent years, our participation has an equal mix of high caliber research-academics and influential, senior engineers and managers in the software industry. Most conferences often cater to one or the other. We believe we have grown into this rather unique position by meticulously focusing on each of these elements, with values that are meaningful to both. But like all endeavors, at the core of this achievement, are the people in our community who make this happen. ISSRE is fortunate to attract people who understand each of these segments, and strive to make this happen.

Our research paper selection process stands out for its rigor and fairness, drawing and implementing from the best practices in the research community. We have a large program committee -- 60 people, this year -- that includes a cross section of skills and competencies from across the software reliability engineering spectrum. And every year, we bring new people into this group while ensuring that there is a sizable carry-over from prior years. Over the past 10 years we have had over 200 different researchers who have served on our program committees. Each paper is reviewed by several (averaging four or more reviews per paper) while the program chairs keep close tabs on review quality, and reviewer thoroughness. Conflicts of interest are declared explicitly and we have a published policy on how they are to be identified and handled.

The review process does not end with the review. We have a face-to-face program committee meeting – a breed of meetings that was common place but is fast disappearing in our age of electronic meetings and restricted travel. However, we believe there is value in the face-to-face meeting, both to the author of papers and to our community as a means of grooming and coaching new researchers. This year ~25 members travelled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to meet for a day-and-half-long program committee meeting. In some matters, there is nothing like a face-to-face meeting to allow for debate and discussion on the jewel that this conference showcases. We did supplement the meeting with a call-in and electronic meeting place so those who could not travel could still contribute remotely.

Thus, every research paper that is accepted at ISSRE is carefully vetted and discussed among a body of world class researchers. This year we accepted 19 research papers and two experience reports from 84 research submissions. This digest contains only the research papers and these will be published through IEEE Explore and are deemed peer-reviewed research papers.

Research papers are just one component of ISSRE. We have several tracks which make up the conference and cater to different segments of the community. Industry Papers, Fast Abstracts, Student Papers, Posters, Workshops, Tutorials, Tools Fair, Panels, and Keynotes comprise the others. Each of these has its own committee and processes for review and selection. While they may not require the rigor of research papers, they are all peer-reviewed in one form or another. Papers and contributions from these additional tracks are not published in this digest but appear in the Supplemental digest of the conference.

At the time of this writing, these other tracks are going through their review processes. Thus, we do not know the final outcome but do know the number of submissions: 45 Industry Papers submitted, 45 Fast Abstracts and ~ 25 Student papers. Thus, adding up all the papers and tracks, we have over 200 submissions, and the count does not include the papers and talk submissions for four workshops that are being planned.

This year, ISSRE created a new group and process – the Industry Workgroup -- which is made up of representatives from software companies who spend time with conference leadership to brainstorm and help build a more relevant conference. Our Industry Workgroup has representatives from ~ 25 software companies and we had a face-to-face meeting in Bengaluru earlier this year, hosted by Yahoo! For this meeting we had a very specific purpose. We wanted to invert the method by which we develop workshops and tutorials. This group came up with a report that identifies the top issues that industry worries about and we defined workshops and tutorials that could address those needs. This report is published on the ISSRE 2009 website ( and is expected to have ongoing value beyond this year’s event. The workgroup also provides a channel to communicate and build special interest groups that are relevant to our community. We are also open to ideas that are not contained in this industry workgroup report, enlarging the scope of service we can provide the community. We are currently planning three or four workshops and over half a dozen tutorials at ISSRE 2009.

ISSRE is a growing conference and we are proud that over the past 20 years, we have come a long way-- not only in the topics we address, but also the segments and industry verticals we impact. At such moments we always like to look back at our humble beginnings and the people who have influenced us.

This year, we have had a sad moment and need to recognize one of our leaders. John Musa, one of the founding members of ISSRE, died in April 2009. He was an integral part of this conference and we miss him dearly. We have an on-line memorial for him on the conference website where several from the community have posted their thoughts and memories.

One of the challenges of bringing ISSRE to India is to do this at an affordable cost to as many as possible. Infosys has gone out of its way to host us, offer us their training center and facilities at no cost, and even accommodate up to 350 attendees in their residential guest facilities. We salute their commitment to the area of software reliability engineering and extend our gratitude for their generous sponsorship.

We also have several people to thank. To make a conference like this happen takes the work of many people in different roles. We recognize a few on our website with roles and titles. But there are several others. Many who work with no mention. Many that work hard to submit their papers that do not get recognized in this instance of the conference. We want every one of your papers to print one day, and hope that the feedback that you received will help you in your work. And then there are those of you who attend this conference that really makes the event. Thank you for being with us!

Ram Chillarege
General Chair, ISSRE 2009

Andy Podgurski and Pankaj Jalote
Program Co-Chairs, ISSRE 2009