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Cybercity—there is no place quite like it. Home to numerous high-tech companies as well as the Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC), this ever-growing part of Hyderabad, India, is the perfect location for the 36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). This gathering of 1,200 computer scientists from around the world covers topics as varied as crowdsourcing and green computing, mining software repositories, and mobile computing. And Microsoft Research personnel are playing a huge part in the event, presenting 20 papers and speaking at a total of 10 keynotes, tutorials, and panel sessions.
We are particularly delighted that Corporate Vice President Jeannette Wing will be part of the CTO Round Table, along with representatives of two large local companies, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. Reflecting on the importance of this conference, Wing notes that, “Developing software in this age of `mobile first, cloud first’ requires attention to scale, speed, and security like never before. These trends, along with the democratization of the software ecosystem, provide new opportunities for the ICSE research community.”
The Microsoft Research team on the first day of ICSE 2014, L-R back row: Pratap Lakshman, Patrice Godefroid, David Molnar, Tom Zimmermann, Chris Bird, Judith Bishop, Dongmei Zhang; front row: Aditya Nori, Nikolai Tillmann, Nikolaj Bjorner, Andrew Begel, Hucheng Zhou
Walking around the pre-conference workshops, I am struck by how many of the assembled academics and students have been touched by Microsoft’s programs over the past five years. Some have received Microsoft Awards for the Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF); others were interns in our worldwide labs or attended one of our many outreach events, including Faculty Summits, SEIF Days, and workshops. Still others are members of our Joint Research Centers or have collaborated with Microsoft Research on research projects. Many of these folks have come up to me to express their appreciation of Microsoft’s involvement in research and their excitement about their future plans.
As a measure of our collaborative approach, I note that 19 of our 20 papers are written jointly with academics and/or with researchers from other companies, often from across the globe. Two examples caught my eye: “Using Psycho-Physiological Measures to Assess Task Difficulty in Software Development,” co-authored by researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland and Microsoft Research and Exponent, both in the United States; and “Software Engineering and Automated Deduction,” with authors from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and Microsoft Research and SRI Computer Science Lab, both in the United States.
We are also presenting several papers on TouchDevelop and the first paper on Code Hunt. We are very happy that this year, for the first time, members of the MSIDC are attending ICSE. It is fascinating to hear them discuss how they are working with the researchers to move projects from pure research over into our major development platform, Visual Studio.
And now to a very special announcement: each year, ICSE recognizes the paper from the ICSE meeting of 10 years earlier that is judged to have had the most influence on software engineering in the decade since. This year, the ICSE Most Influential Paper award goes to Tom Zimmermann of Microsoft Research and his co-authors, Peter Weißgerber and Stephan Diehl, both of the University of Trier in Germany, and Andreas Zeller of Saarland University in Germany. Their 2004 paper, “Mining Version Histories to Guide Software Changes,” was a milestone in applying data analytics to a significant software repository in order to glean insights in software development. It quickly influenced what has become a very important line of research in our community: the mining of software repositories.
Tom Zimmermann of Microsoft Research presenting at ICSE 2014. Tom received two honors at the conference, one of which was for his co-authorship of the Most Influential Paper presented at ICSE 2004.
In addition, Zimmermann’s paper, “Cowboys, Ankle Sprains, and Keepers of Quality: How Is Video Game Development Different from Software Development?”—co-authored with Emerson Murphy-Hill of North Carolina State University and Nachiappan Nagappan of Microsoft Research—has been named one of this year’s nine ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Papers. Congratulations to Tom, Nachi, and their collaborators.
Of course, attending a conference involves more than listening to papers. I am “working the halls,” chatting with potential collaborators, and hearing about new research plans. There is so much talent and expertise here, and I’m delighted to find that interest in working with or for Microsoft Research is high on the agenda of these gifted software engineers. But in the quiet before the conference begins, I am going out into the already warm day of the Indian summer to enjoy the lush greenery and think about Cybercity and what it means—a world of possibilities in software engineering.
—Judith Bishop, Director of Computer Science, Microsoft Research Connections