Carnegie Mellon University
October 05, 2017

ISR Researchers Take Home ECSA Best Paper Award

By Josh Quicksall

Institute researchers - Javier Cámara, David Garlan, and Bradley Schmerl - were recently recognized with the Best Paper Award at the 11th European Conference on Software Architecture (ECSA) in Canterbury, UK.

ECSA  is the premier European software architecture conference, providing researchers, practitioners, and educators with a platform to present and discuss the most recent, innovative, and significant findings and experiences in the field of software architecture research and practice.

The paper, Synthesis and Quantitative Verification of Tradeoff Spaces for Families of Software Systems,  lays the foundations to provide software architects with tools to make design decisions in poorly-understood design spaces. These spaces could involve uncertainties concerning the reliability of components, lack of predictability of the operation environment, or even interactions with humans.

“Software architects typically rely on intuition to navigate these design spaces, but getting these wrong can lead to systems that fail to meet market needs with the qualities that are desired by users,” Dr. Javier Cámara, ISR Systems Scientist, explains. “Furthermore, architects may miss novel designs that would be more elegant and resilient to changes over time.”

The paper presents a formal framework for generating designs that conform to a set of design rules as well as analyzing these designs to provide formal guarantees about the correctness of system behaviors and quantitative properties of the system subject to uncertainty.

The possibilities, Cámara notes, are exciting. “The analysis that this approach enables could allow an architect to make informed design decisions based, for instance, on the available budget for the project and other constraints imposed by stakeholders, standards, and even legal constraints.”