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VAST: 1st Int’l Workshop on Variability-intensive Systems Testing, Validation & Verification

by Andreas Metzger last modified Nov 02, 2011 14:33
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March 21, 2011 - Berlin, Germany (co-located with ICST 2011)

=== VAST featured a keynote by Massimiliano Di Penta, University of Sannio ==



Driven by rising customer demands, continuously changing context conditions (such as legal or business settings), and the wish to leverage existing development assets, the capability of modern software systems to be configurable or reconfigurable is increasing. This leads to software systems which expose a high degree of variability. Over the past years development paradigms that enable engineering and maintaining such high-variability software systems thus have appeared; the most prominent examples being Software Product Line (SPL), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Dynamically Adaptive Systems (DAS). Due to the productivity gains those paradigms promise and due to the powerful ways of handling variability that they offer to application developers, they are gaining popularity in a world where tight schedules and ever changing business needs are the rule.

As for any development paradigm it is of paramount importance to understand how to perform effective and efficient validation and verification (V&V) This becomes is especially challenging for variability-intensive systems. In the case of SPL, one key reason the V&V task is a complex endeavor is because variability exponentially increases the number of tests and checks needed. Furthermore, as SPL V&V activities concern a set of products and/or reusable assets, adequate coverage criteria are needed to establish confidence in the quality of the V&V results. In the SOA case V&V faces a similar – if not worse – complexity problem. Due to the loose coupling and late binding of services, they can be composed to a potentially unbound number of different service-based systems, often not known when the individual service are created. In the DAS case, the situation is similar but special interest is devoted to the runtime issues of V&V.

Initial solutions to handle the high variability during validation and verification have been proposed by various communities, including SPL, SOA, and DAS, but also by more general communities, such as MDD and V&V. This situation makes it difficult to get a global view on key challenges, results and emerging ideas in this area.  The main purpose of the VAST workshop is thus to gather researchers working on testing, verification & validation of software product lines, service-based systems and dynamically adaptive systems to discuss novel ideas and understand how they can learn from each other. Ultimately, those discussions could lead to a common research agenda for this discipline.


Variability is key enabler for most systems throughout their development and evolution. Indeed, customer demands and continuously changing contexts (environment, legal and business settings, technology etc.) ask for more adaptability in software engineering. This major trend impacts the whole engineering process, with key-emerging technologies such as SPL (Software Product Line), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Dynamically Adaptive Systems or AOM (Aspect-Oriented Modelling). All these paradigms aim at providing solutions to introduce and manage variability at different lifecycle stages.

While variability is at the core of the Software Product Line (SPL) paradigm, it can also be enabled thanks to specific properties of the architecture on which software relies upon; For example, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) exploits loose coupling between services to facilitate the design and deployment of applications. Dynamically Adaptive Systems use reflection and runtime transformation to adapt to their environment.

A matter of fact, many technologies enable variability. As a consequence, combinatorial explosion due to variability is a common problem spanning over all these paradigms. Testing and verifying variability intensive systems is an issue that has been studied specifically. To date, some specific techniques have been developed (such as combinatorial interaction testing or modular checking) to contend with such explosion during the verification & validation process.  However the field is still in its infancy. Even if some results have shown first promising outcomes in theory, their practical applicability has still to be demonstrated. The integration/combination of V&V techniques may be investigated to address the aforementioned validation challenge. Questions concerning the scalability, quality and usability of the results, integration during the development lifecycle still have to be answered. Furthermore, scattered across several communities, some general advances may be difficult to share and widespread.

The aims of this workshop are to provide a forum in which practitioners and researchers can share their ideas and results and to establish a common research agenda for testing, verification and validation of variability-intensive systems.


Contributions are expected in all areas of V&V applied to variability-intensive systems. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Test Definition (during Domain Engineering / Application Engineering,
    Problem Space / Solution Space)
  • Test Generation and Test Selection
  • Test Oracles
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Assessing Test Quality and Coverage
  • Variability Formalization for Model-checking and Verification
  • Variability Formalization for Testing and Validation
  • Combining Testing and Model-checking
  • Model-driven and Model-based based Testing
  • Variability Space Exploration Strategies: e.g. Incremental vs Global
  • Test Case Reuse
  • Testing Processes for Variability-intensive Systems
  • Testing @ Runtime  (Online and “in-service” Testing)
  • Verification @ Runtime
  • Regression Testing and Verification
  • Model Checking for Variability
  • Scalability Issues
  • Compositional and Incremental Checking
  • Extra-functional Properties  (security, performance)
  • Variability V&V for Specific Application Areas (dependability, resilience, etc.)

Submission, Evaluation and Publication

Papers can be submitted in the following categories:

  • Research/Industry papers: Research papers have to demonstrate some original ideas and emerging results/tool support. They will be evaluated on their technical soundness and how they advance of the current state of the art. Industry papers will typically describe the application of particular techniques on concrete variability-intensive systems. Industry papers will be evaluated regarding the relevance and quality of lessons learned. Not more than 8 pages.
  • Vision/Position papers: Position papers state the current state of the art and where the community should go. This is also the venue for early ideas that are not mature enough to be described in a research paper. Not more than 4 pages.
  • Demo papers: Demo papers describe a tool addressing V&V for variability-intensive systems. Each paper should present the features/limitation of the tool as well as a case study which will be demonstrated at the workshop in case of acceptance. Not more than 2 pages.


Paper submission is handled via easychair.

Papers should conform to the format of the main conference (see here).

Each paper will be reviewed by at least three PC Members. Accepted papers will be published by the IEEE Computer Society in the IEEE Digital Library.


8:45 - 09:00 Opening by organizers

09:00 - 10:00 Session 1: Keynote

  • Massimiliano Di Penta, University of Sannio: "Service Testing: Achievements and Future Research Directions "

Massimiliano Di Penta is assistant professor at the University of Sannio, Department of Engineering, Italy. He received his laurea degree in Computer Engineering in 1999 and his PhD in Computer Engineering in 2003. His research interests include software maintenance and evolution, reverse engineering, empirical software engineering, search-based software engineering service-centric software engineering. He is author of over 140 papers appeared on journals, conferences and workshops. He serves and has served in the organizing and program committees of several conferences such as ICSE, ASE, ICSM, ICPC, CSMR, GECCO, MSR, SCAM, WCRE, and many others. He has been general chair of SCAM 2010, SSBSE 2010, WSE 2008, general co-chair of WCRE 2008, and program co-chair of SSBSE 2009, WCRE 2006 and 2007, IWPSE 2007, WSE 2007, SCAM 2006, STEP 2005, and of other workshops. He is steering committee member of ICPC, SCAM, CSMR, WCRE, IWPSE, and SSBSE. He is in the editorial board of the Empirical Software Engineering Journal edited by Springer and of Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution, Research and Practice, edited by Wiley.

10:30 - noon Session 2: Product line testing

  • Emelie Engstrom and Per Runeson: Decision Support for Test Management and Scope Selection in a Software Product Line Context
  • Martin Fagereng Johansen, Oystein Haugen and Franck Fleurey: A survey of empirics of strategies for software product line testing

14:00 - 15:30 Session 3: Formal approaches

  • Thomas Thüm, Ina Schaefer, Martin Kuhlemann and Sven Apel: Proof Composition for Deductive Verification of Software Product Lines
  • Elke Salecker, Robert Reicherdt and Sabine Glesner: Calculating Prioritized Interaction Test Sets with Constraints using Binary Decision Diagrams

16:00 - 17:30 Session 4: Model and SOA validation

  • Alessandro Marchetto, Cu Duy Nguyen and Paolo Tonella: Automated Detection of Discontinuities in Models Inferred from Execution Traces
  • Erik Wittern and Christian Zirpins: Validating Service Value Propositions Regarding Stakeholder Preferences

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline for Research/Industry papers: Jan. 4, 2011 (Extended!)
  • Submission deadline for Vision/Demo papers: Jan. 14, 2011
  • Notification of acceptance: Feb. 1, 2011
  • Submission deadline for camera-ready copies: Feb. 15, 2011

Organising Committee

  • Gilles Perrouin, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Namur (FUNDP), Belgium
  • Patrick Heymans, Faculty of Computer Science, University of Namur (FUNDP), Belgium
  • Andreas Metzger, Paluno (The Ruhr Institute for Software Technology), University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Yves le Traon, Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication, University of Luxembourg, Campus Kirchberg, Luxemburg

Program Committee

  • Vasco Amaral, New University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • Benoit Baudry, INRIA, France
  • David Benavides, University of Seville, Spain
  • Nelly Bencomo, Lancaster University, UK
  • Franck Chauvel, Peking University, PR China
  • Myra Cohen, University of Nebraska, USA
  • Philippe Collet, University of Nice, France
  • Elisabetta Di Nitto, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Robert Eschbach, Fraunhofer IESE, Germany
  • Franck Fleurey, SINTEF Oslo, Norway
  • Arnaud Gotlieb, INRIA, France
  • Sam Guinea, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Herman Hartmann, Synopsis, The Netherlands
  • Jacques Klein, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Kim Lauenroth, Paluno (Ruhr Institute for Software Technology), University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  • Martin Leucker, University of Lübeck and TUM, Germany 
  • Grace Lewis, SEI, USA
  • Levi Lucio, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • John D. McGregor, Clemson University, USA
  • Mauro Pezzè, University of Lugano, Switzerland and University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • Benoit Ries, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Romain Rouvoy, University of Lille 1, France
  • Julia Rubin, IBM Haifa, Israel
  • Antonino Sabetta, SAP Research, France
  • Andy Schürr, TU Darmstadt, Germany
  • Sergio Segura, University of Seville, Spain
  • Alin Stefanescu, University of Pitesti, Romania
  • Tim Trew, The Netherlands
  • Tanja Vos, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain 
  • Engin Uzuncaova, Bing Maps Direction Team, Microsoft, USA





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