In Computer Science, the value of your PhD work over the state of the art will typically be assessed by three questions. “Was it hard?”, implying that it took years of training to accomplish this; “Is it elegant?”, meaning that it may be an approach that can be applied again and again; and “Is it useful?”, meaning that it improves the practice of computer science. In Software Engineering, the “usefulness” metric dominates the other two; yet, this does not mean that you should not also strive for elegance and intellectual challenges. In this talk, I will discuss the many facets of successful software engineering research, for PhD students and beyond.
Andreas Zeller heads the Steering Committee of ISSTA, the greatest conference series ever, and if you miss the conference or its Doctoral Symposium, you will be very, very sorry. He is a professor at CISPA / Saarland University in Saarbrücken, one of the world’s largest research clusters in computer science. He is best known for innovations such as delta debugging, mining version archives, or miniature slides at the end of a presentation. His favorite quote comes from Clint Eastwood “ Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously”.
Andreas Zeller is a full professor for Software Engineering at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. His research concerns the analysis of complex software systems, their security properties, and their development process. His students are funded by companies like Google, Microsoft, or SAP. In 2010, Zeller was inducted as Fellow of the ACM for his contributions to automated debugging and mining software archives. In 2011, he received an ERC Advanced Grant, Europe’s highest and most prestigious individual research grant, for work on specification mining and test case generation. In 2013, he co-founded Testfabrik AG, a start-up for automatic testing of Web applications.