Program Comprehension in Banff and Amsterdam

I am extremely sad that I can’t make it to ICPC 2007 in Banff this week even though I had planned for this attendance almost an entire year in advance. The simple reason is that I am relocating to Europe this week and moving between continents is all but fun with 3 kids around. I was seriously considering to travel through Banff on my way to Braga (which is just a milestone on our way to Germany), but my wife clarified that this is too crazy of an idea.

So while I cannot make it to Banff I have been working with X and Rene Krikhaar and Erald Kulk on the organization of the 2008 edition of the ICPC, which will be in Amsterdam, in June, which is when it is not raining in Amsterdam (but still raining in Seattle). Why is program comprehension worth increasing attention, as also indicated by the recent transition of the program comprehension event from workshop to conference status? I think the following paragraph from our draft call puts it well:

“Software systems have been becoming more complex – think of language cocktails, multi-threaded and asynchronous programming, multi-tier architectures, cross-platform compilation, abstraction mechanisms for separations of concerns, loose coupling, and so on. As a result, program comprehension is getting more challenging but also desperately more needed.”



Ralf Lämmel


And here is the full preliminary call for paper:


Preliminary Call For Papers, ICPC 2008

16th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension

10-13 June, 2008, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Program comprehension is a frequent software-engineering activity involved in practically all stages of the software-development lifecycle. Developers need to understand the system they work on in order to fix its bugs, enhance its functionalities, and reengineer it for a different environment.

Software systems have been becoming more complex – think of language cocktails, multi-threaded and asynchronous programming, multi-tier architectures, cross-platform compilation, abstraction mechanisms for separations of concerns, loose coupling, and so on. As a result, program comprehension is getting more challenging but also desperately more needed.

The International Conference on Program Comprehension (ICPC) is the premier forum on program comprehension. The conference covers related subjects such as software analysis, software visualization, reverse engineering, and software evolution. ICPC 2008 is the 16th edition of the conference since its first holding (originally as a workshop) in 1992.

ICPC 2008 will provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners from academia, industry and government, to present and discuss state-of-the-art and best-practices results in the field. There are these forms of participation: the presentation of a regular research paper, the organization of affiliated events and participation in those, as well as the presentation of a poster or a tool demo.


Topics of interest

Here is a non-exhaustive list: (i) cognitive theories for software comprehension, including experiments and case studies; (ii) software visualization, program analysis and model-driven techniques in support of software comprehension; (iii) issues specific to the comprehension of specific types of systems, such as legacy systems, object-oriented frameworks, web-based systems, COTS, software-product lines, and notably large-scale systems; (iv) comprehension in the context of specific lifecycle activities such as maintenance, reengineering, migration, inspection before purchase, security auditing, and testing.


Technical papers

Papers must describe original work and are limited to approximately 6000 words (up to 10 pages in the IEEE CS proceedings style). Submissions must not have been previously published nor be currently submitted to, or be in consideration for, any journal, book, or conference. Papers accepted for publication will require at least one author to attend the event and present the work. A number of technical paper submissions may be accepted as short papers.


Affiliated events

Like in the past, ICPC will affiliate with a number of working sessions or workshops. These are typically half-day events that are meant as forums for groups of people who want to engage in research in the same subfield. The affiliated events foster the exchange of ideas and advance the state of research in this field through focused interactions of the participants. A description of each event will be included in the conference proceedings.


Posters and tool demos

Posters will be exhibited in their own separate session, to foster informal exchanges between the exhibitors and the participants. Poster submissions are not required to cover completed major research results. There is going to be a session for tool demos covering both industry-strength tools and academic prototypes. Accepted posters and tool demonstrations will be included in the conference proceedings (up to 4 pages in the IEEE CS proceedings style). The poster/tool proposals should indicate the novelty of the approach and how the ideas will be presented.


Special theme

Program comprehension naturally covers different scopes: procedures, modules, components, frameworks, product lines, systems, and ultimately conglomerations of integrated, interacting or mutually depended systems. This time, ICPC further stretches the boundaries by explicitly calling out the scope of a portfolio, and adding portfolio comprehension to the list of topics. Think of a portfolio as a set of software systems in a given business. Given this scope, particular comprehension needs arise such as those related to portfolio management, i.e., comprehension helps with decision making regarding outsourcing, renewal, retirement or replacement of parts of the portfolio. Regular submissions and affiliated events are welcome to address the theme of portfolio comprehension – in addition to any of the other topics.



General Chair:  Chris Verhoef, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,; Program Co-Chairs: Rene Krikhaar, ICT NoviQ, The Netherlands, and Ralf Lämmel, Microsoft Corp., USA,



The main conference and the affiliated events will be held in `The Trippenhuis', headquarters of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, an 17th century building in the heart of Amsterdam, in walking distance from the central station and suitable hotels.

Amsterdam is a major hub for the whole of Europe. Schiphol International Airport has direct scheduled connections to many cities in the world. The airport is located about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the center of Amsterdam; the central station can be reached by train easily in approximately 20 minutes.


Important dates

These dates are preliminary!

·         January 10, 2008: Workshop proposals due

·         January 25, 2008: Paper submissions due

·         February 10, 2008: Poster and tool submissions due

·         March 1, 2008: Notifications sent to authors

·         March 15, 2008: Camera-ready papers due

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