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After attending ECOOP/ISSTA 2018 by Marco RadavelliWed 1 Aug 2018

Looking back at my experience at ECOOP/ISSTA, after coming back to Bergamo, Italy, I have to say it has been a productive experience. I came back with more energy. In fact - attending different talks, some about different aspects of works I was doing - gave me the impression that research - both in software testing, and in programming languages - has been fun, and the very technical aspects were the most enjoyable. This led to bring excitement also in the research I am doing now.

Being my second experience as a student volunteer, although my first time attending ISSTA, I was already prepared to the interesting talks, and how to make networking moments useful, by presenting myself and asking questions to gather personal experience and advice, for my further steps in the PhD.

The three shifts of my service as a student volunteer didn’t hinder me much in attending the talks I judged more relevant for me, during the parallel sessions, plus with the orange T-shirt it has been easier to introduce myself to the attendees, and be noted as well. The volunteering tasks were very well organized, thanks to the organizers. Especially appreciated were the breakfast talks with some professors, who gave me advice on the process of writing the thesis, and how to improve the effectiveness of the time I will have to still spend on research. Their suggestions were pretty much aligned; I should pay attention and be focused in what I do, and find a good balance between all the activities: reading, experimenting, writing. Knowing that also professors, from different fields (I talked with Andreas Zeller, Tobias Wrigstad, Cristina Cifuentes, and Jonathan Bell) faced similar problems, and managed to cope with them.

The poster session has been the best for making new connections, for me. I met, in particular, The ISSTA banquet, and the coffee breaks, instead, were more informal moments, in which I often joined groups not only strictly talking about research.

The talks of Alex Orso, and Lionel Briandt, at the summer school, both about software testing, were above my expectations. Did you know, for instance, that, in Alex vision, we should favor semi-automated approaches for software testing instead of seeking full automation? The possibility of an engineer to be in-the-loop, tuning a method, makes it more easily adaptable to the specific needs. Furthermore, the community will value a lot the new empirical evaluations of current or new techniques, and not only the discovery of new theoretical properties, or just new ideas.

For me, all ECOOP talks, and the summer school lectures about languages and static analysis, were a “plus”, as I was more interested in software testing, however it has been great to notice some intersections about the fields. From this integration perspective, interesting were the ECOOP talks of thursday afternoon: “Learning to Accelerate Symbolic Execution via Code Transformation” and “Targeted Test Generation for Actor Systems”.

Of particular interest I should also cite the afternoon talks in the workshop INTUITESTBEDS, and the ISSTA keynote “Pluggable Type Systems Reconsidered” by Michael Ernst, with who I also had the pleasure to talk during a coffee break previously.

It has been an intense week; thank you again for this opportunity!