11th Symposium on Search-Based Software Engineering

Tallinn Estonia, 31 Aug - 2 Sep, 2019

The conference will take place at Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia

Important dates

About the Symposium on Search-based Software Engineering

  • Search-based Software Engineering (SBSE) is a research area focused on the formulation of software engineering problems as search problems, and the subsequent use of complex heuristic techniques to attain optimal solutions to such problems. A wealth of engineering challenges - from test generation, to design refactoring, to process organization - can be solved efficiently through the application of automated optimization techniques. SBSE is a growing field - sitting at the crossroads between AI, machine learning, and software engineering - and SBSE techniques have begun to attain human-competitive results.
  • The Symposium on Search-Based Software Engineering is a venue dedicated to the SBSE research field. The 11th symposium will be held this year in Talinn, Estonia, co-located with the 27th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering. We invite the submission of high quality papers describing novel and original work in all areas of SBSE including, but not limited to, applications of SBSE to novel problems, theoretical analyses of search algorithms for software engineering, rigorous empirical evaluations of SBSE techniques, and reports of industrial experiences.
  • Keynotes

    Automatic Configuration and Learning for Evolutionary Computation

    Much research in evolutionary computation focuses on the design and application of new algorithm variants for obtaining better results for hard application problems. For evolution strategies, a class of evolutionary algorithms, I will briefly discuss a few variants and their performance, and then illustrate a typical application example from the domain of industrial engineering design (such as ships, cars, etc.).

    I will argue, however, that the traditional, expert-driven algorithm development approach has its limitations, and that there are suitable approaches towards an automatic configuration of evolutionary algorithms in general, and evolution strategies in particular. This is motivated by some early work on the (hyper-parameter ) optimization of genetic algorithms. Recent research in my group resulted in the configurable CMA-evolution strategy, which makes 4.308 variants of evolution strategies possible - most of which have never been tried before. This generalization can not only be used for searching through configuration space, but the optimization results can also be analyzed using data-driven approaches, resulting in a better understanding of the search mechanism.

    In my perspective, this is only the beginning, since the results clearly indicate that the algorithm configuration should also be able to switch during the optimization run, and that the switching strategy could add an additional benefit for the algorithm’s convergence runtime. Ultimately, it would be great if the algorithm could continuously learn the changing requirements for module activations, which requires internal machine learning mechanisms such as multi-armed bandit or reinforcement learning approaches. For both topics, I will discuss our first results and outline the potential for further research. The talk concludes by providing a short overview of research topics and industrial projects in my research group.

    Thomas Bäck

    Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), Leiden University, Netherlands

    Thomas Bäck is professor of Computer Science at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science, Leiden University, Netherlands, since 2002. He received his PhD in Computer Science from Dortmund University, Germany, in 1994, and was leader of the Center for Applied Systems Analysis at the Informatik Centrum Dortmund until 2000. Until 2007, Thomas was also CTO of NuTech Solutions, Inc. (Charlotte, NC), where he gained ample experience in solving real-world problems in optimization and data analytics, by working with global enterprises in the automotive and other industry sectors.

    Thomas received the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Evolutionary Computation Pioneer Award for his contributions in synthesizing evolutionary computation (2015), was elected as a fellow of the International Society of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (ISGEC) for fundamental contributions to the field (2003), and received the best dissertation award from the "Gesellschaft für Informatik" in 1995.

    Thomas has more than 300 publications, as well as two books on evolutionary algorithms: Evolutionary Algorithms in Theory and Practice (1996), Contemporary Evolution Strategies (2013). He is co-editor of the Handbook of Evolutionary Computation and the Handbook of Natural Computing. Thomas is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Natural Computing Series (Springer) and the journal Theoretical Computer Science C (Elsevier), and editorial board member of various journals.

    Thomas’ research interests are in foundations and applications of evolutionary computation, efficient global optimization, and multiple objective optimization. His recent research also addresses optimization methods in machine learning, e.g., for hyperparameter optimization, as well as supervised and unsupervised machine learning for smart industry applications.

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