Today’s complex operating environments require systems to capture and document context together with requirements. Such contextual requirements are used by adaptive systems. During the lifetime of an adaptive system contextual requirements might become outdated if the operational environment changes or might be affected by changes in the monitoring infrastructure (e.g., sensor failure). Such uncertainty might affect the satisfaction of contextual requirements. Overcoming this limitation in adaptive systems calls for runtime support on the adaptation of contextual requirements that are affected by runtime uncertainty. Alessia Knauss, Daniela Damian, and Angela Rook from our lab, in collaboration with Xavier Franch, Hausi Müller, and Alex Thomo developed ACon, an approach that supports the adaptation of contextual requirements at runtime. ACon uses a feedback loop to detect contextual requirements affected by uncertainty and integrates data mining techniques to determine the current measurable context conditions in which the contextual requirement is valid. We evaluated ACon based on our OAR Northwest project in an unpredictable environment, the Atlantic Ocean, with lots of uncertainty involved. We mined contextual data of 46 sensors for five contextual requirements. Our evaluation showed promising results and leaves room for further investigations in this direction.
Our paper “Learning Global Agile Software Engineering Using Same-Site and Cross-Site Teams” has been accepted for JSEET track at ICSE 2015. Congratulations Kelly, Dana, Jyoti, Francis, Prashant and Aminah! This paper is a collaboration with Maria Paasivaara, Casper Lassenius and Veikko Isotalo from Aalto University, Finland.
Our paper “Open Source-Style Collaborative Development Practices in Commercial Projects Using GitHub” has been accepted at ICSE 2015. Congratulations Eirini, Dana and Kelly!
The source of creativity: Making mistakes! Who would have thought that making mistakes, or taking risks to explore your ideas is at the heart of creativity? NPR TED Radio Hour’s podcast on The Sources of Creativity (Oct 3rd) amazingly debates what makes us be creative — do you want to know how Sting stop writing his songs but then overcame barriers to creativity?–, how we all pretty much get born creative natures but somehow we lose it along the way of maturing to become less risk takers. Why? my personal take is that we surrender to our own self imposed barriers raised out of fear of failure. When in fact we learn most through failures. I have been thinking for a while now how to facilitate creativity in my classes and students’ thinking (whether undergraduate or graduate) and my strategy has been to design (seemingly extreme) practical problems that almost force students to fail. But then I almost always get questions such as “what’s the template for this assignment?”, “how will you be grading this exercise?”. Clear examples of barriers we get to fight along the way… Introspection, however, is crucial to learning from mistakes and to gaining the confidence in oneself’s ability to be creative; so I also blend a lot of reflection in my strategy of freeing my students from worrying about conformance … and thus enabling their creativity.
For a great documentary about the OAR Northwest team that Alessia Knauss and Angela Rook have been collaborating on research with over the last two years, check out the following: http://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/full-episode-capsized-n80451
We started a project in our lab this summer, which we lovingly call Co-CoDe: Collaboration, Coordination, and Development process in software teams. With this project we’re aiming to understand and record collaboration practices followed by a variety of teams, and the associated benefits and challenges. Software teams try to strike a balance between process and tools and spend resources and effort to find the combination that works for them. Their technical and organizational decisions go hand-in-hand, and the aim is to maintain the right levels of communication, work awareness, and coordination practices. Through our study we hope to provide teams with insight and recommendations for practices that can work better for them. Our first focus of investigation is the use of decentralized version control systems (DVCS) by an increasing number of projects and teams. As DVCS, such as Git, are becoming adopted for managing the codebase, we’re curious as to how they influence team collaboration by providing a protocol for managing code contributions. Our choice to investigate DVCS impact on collaboration brought us to using GitHub as a proxy. GitHub is getting adopted more and more, and that has also attracted the attention of the academic community, with a growing number of papers dedicated to how it is used both as a tool and a collaborative environment. We conducted a short survey along with 35 interviews, providing us with a wealth of input and insight. The teams we interviewed include both open source and commercial teams, distributed and collocated, of varying sizes and choice of development methodologies. We’ll be updating the news on this project as we’re finalizing and publishing our results and insights.
Since October 2012 our lab has the pleasure to conduct research on the project of OAR Northwest. The students from the SEGAL lab involved in this project are Alessia Knauss and Angela Rook. The main research is done on the Atlantic Ocean trip of Adam Kreek, Jordan Hanssen, Markus Pukonen and Pat Fleming. During this trip they were collecting research data for us for the purpose of investigation in requirements engineering for adaptive systems that represent socio-technical systems. After their capsize in April 2013 (which was very unfortunate as they were very close to their goal), for a couple of weeks it was not clear whether the devices, that were used on board for data collection were lost in the ocean. The first good news was that some of the devices were found on the boat that was out on the ocean for almost two weeks. With the devices (e.g. Samsung Rugbys) the impossible was possible: We were able to restore some of the devices, so that we got enough data to continue with our research. In June Alessia had a meeting with the rowers in Victoria (where the picture was taken) to receive further research data. It was very exciting to meet all four of them in the same place and hear their exciting and very inspiring stories about the experience out there on sea and their capsizing. Thank you Adam, Jordan, Markus and Pat for giving us the opportunity to take part in this adventure and for your inspiration and all the effort you put in to make this research possible!
Find out about the cool research we are doing in SEGAL! Daniela Damian has just been featured on UVic’s Faces of Research: http://youtu.be/xgSwKDOYB5M
I have been teaching students Global Software Engineering (GSD) since 2006, and more and more I realize that the learning I am trying to create in the classroom is not related to technical skills at all. It is about discovering yourself. Very few problems in GSD are of technical nature. Advances in distributed version control and integrated collaborative development environments have made most of technical issues conquerable. It is about how these infrastructures get used by people in different parts of the world, with different styles of work and communication, but more interestingly, different expectations of success and of others. In a recent course I run at the University of Victoria in collaboration with the Finnish Aalto University — see here for a slide deck outlining our great GSD experience — I had the incredible experience that any teacher is hungry for: a student’s reflection on what learning GSD meant for him. Although my intention was to facilitate the UVic students’ international collaboration with the Finnish students, our UVic class was international in itself and we had many great discussions of what working in an international team really meant. In very few classes we get the chance to really reflect on our experiences and learning, and we had many opportunities to share the good and the hard. Trust, large time zone differences and teamwork were among the few things that we talked in almost every class. My student’s report — a reflection from a reserved person most often not able to contribute to what were felt as advanced discussions, though his report is very telling about his learning — highlights in fact why collaborating across borders (whatever they are: physical, cultural, emotional, ideological) is important to (re-)discover oneself: where one comes from, how one approaches particular challenges and how one is willing to search for solutions. It reminded me, once more, how much I… read more →