Carnegie Mellon University
June 15, 2021

ISR Researchers Honored for Most Influential Paper in Adaptive Systems

By Josh Quicksall

Researchers from the Institute for Software Research received a Most Influential Paper award this past May during the International Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems (SEAMS 2021).

The 2009 paper, “Evaluating the effectiveness of the Rainbow self-adaptive system”, is co-authored by Shang-Wen Cheng (SE PhD ‘08), David Garlan, and Bradley Schmerl. In the paper, the researchers applied Rainbow – a framework for engineering a system with run-time, self-adaptive capabilities to monitor, detect, decide, and act on opportunities for system improvement – to a system,, and evaluated its effectiveness to self-adapt on three levels: its effectiveness to maintain quality attribute in the face of changing conditions, run-time overheads of adaptation, and the engineering effort to use it to add self-adaptive capabilities to The team subsequently made and the associated evaluation tools available to the SEAMS community so that other researchers could use it to evaluate their own systems as well as compare different systems.

Held in conjunction with the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), SEAMS brings together researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, and government, to address critical challenges of engineering self-adaptive and self-managing systems - including IoT technologies, cloud/edge computing, robotics, and smart environments.

The SEAMS award committee noted that the paper was selected for the foundation it provided for subsequent work. “This paper has made a significant impact on empirical research for self-adaptive systems as it was one of the first papers to propose a systematic and well-defined approach to evaluating self-adaptive systems," the committee explains. "This work demonstrated and highlighted the importance of replicability of experimental research, while providing a critically-needed exemplar to the community that continues to be used after more than a decade since its release."

Sometimes referred to as a “test of time” award, this award is given retrospectively to a paper that has, over time, had a strong influence on the community of research and practice. For their part, the researchers are humbled by the honor. “This paper introduced to the self-adaptive systems research community a benchmark problem and testbed system to compare alternative approaches to self-adaptation, where before there really hadn’t been”, Garlan explains. “It was very exciting to see become a common basis for evaluating research in this area — and thereby an important building block for bringing together the community of software engineering researchers developing a variety of approaches to self-adaptation.”