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ICSE 2021
Sat 22 - Sun 30 May 2021 Madrid, Spain

The SCORE Contest is aimed at promoting and fostering software engineering in universities worldwide. Student teams from all over the world participate in a competition for students from undergraduate to master’s level. Each team will develop a software project chosen from a list of projects proposed and sponsored by program committee members. The final deliverable is a report and an accompanying executable system. The evaluation will be based on the quality of all aspects of the software engineering process followed, as well as the resulting system.

In order to accommodate a wide range of academic calendars, the SCORE 20201 Contest will run from March 2020 to March 2021. Finalist teams will be invited to ICSE 2021 in Madrid, Spain.

Call for Participation

You can expect more information about the call for participation soon.

We encourage software engineering instructors to consider advertising SCORE to their students and to use one of SCORE’s project topics for their own software engineering teaching assignments. This can be of great benefit for both students and instructors. Here are a few hints to best exploit the opportunities offered by SCORE.

SCORE projects are challenging and should solve real-life problems, so your students can have a unique learning experience. Typically, SCORE projects can be, but do not have to be, developed during a university software engineering course. In some cases it may happen that only certain parts of a SCORE project can fit with the specific focus of your course; in such cases, we suggest that you invite the best students to form teams and officially enter the SCORE contest as a follow up of their work accomplished during the course.

Administering SCORE projects and supervising SCORE teams is an excellent way to motivate and challenge your best students, as well as to make your own school and courses internationally visible by the quality of their achievements. Similarly, one of SCORE’s main goals is to reach a large base of potential (and talented!) participants.

NOTE: Only SCORE PC members may sponsor a project. This page is for them

We need a good number of projects for teams to choose from! A project sponsor (or proposer) does not need to expect to take on a tremendous burden of work. Yes, you will need to define the project, but you can determine your own level of interaction with teams (even down to none), and we can adjust your reviewing activity to compensate. So, propose a project!

Project Proposal Structure

A project definition needs to have:

  • A project short name: try to come up with a catchy, self-explanatory name for your project.
  • A short description (abstract) of the idea.
  • A longer narrative of the problem that gives enough detail for a team to actually go out and work on the project.
  • A scoping statement for the project that helps teams understand what must be, what may be, and what does not need to be part of the project, in order to help them understand what is asked for.
  • A statement of any process requirements that teams must follow.
  • A statement of any environmental constraints (equipment, external interfaces, or other external constraints) that must be satisfied.
  • Any restrictions or requirements on what external software cannot or can be used, including commercial tools, open-source libraries or frameworks, etc.
  • The selected license under which the developed project must be released – by default GPL (check the FAQ for more).
  • A statement of the level of involvement that you as the project sponsor will undertake; this can be something like “will answer selected questions once per week”; also indicate how to reach out (email, Slack, etc.)

You are encouraged to use this project template. You may also want to look up project descriptions from previous editions of SCORE to get an idea of the variety of aspects that you can cover.

Conflicts and Restrictions

A project sponsor has a conflict with a team if one or more of the team members are students of the same institution as the sponsor during project development or if the sponsor has collaborated with one or more team members in research or other work-related activities during the years 2020 and/or 2021.

Accordingly, a team cannot develop any projects proposed by a sponsor who is in conflict with any members of such team. The team can still enter SCORE by picking another project topic. In this case, the sponsor will not review the team’s submissions.

Projects are still not available.

Project proposals will begin to roll out starting on March 15, 2020

Meanwhile, you can check the proposals from the 2018 edition


Q) Upon submission of the project who will have copyright/ownership over the project?

  • Student teams own the work that they do unless the students’ institution(s) have other rules that supersede these rights.

Team composition

Q) How large must a team participating to SCORE be?

  • The minimum number of people in a team is 3, in order to guarantee that project development involves real teamwork. The maximum number of people in a team is not restricted, but we strongly encourage teams to have no more than 5 members.

Q) Do I have to be a student to take part in SCORE? What kind of student?

  • Yes, you must be a full-time student, and you must provide proof of this fact when submitting your project. We allow both undergraduate and Master’s students, but no Ph.D. students. Teams can mix undergraduate and graduate students.

Q) Why not Ph.D. students?

  • It is a matter of fairness, as Ph.D. students are usually well versed in software engineering theory and practice, having studied the subject in great depth both in classes and during their research activity, which gives them an unfair advantage over much less experienced competitors.

Q) I am currently a student at the Master’s level, but I will receive my degree in the year 2020, then I will start a Ph.D. program. Can I still be part of a team participating in SCORE?

  • It depends on when the summary report is submitted. We will check the status of the members of a participating team at the time of the submission of the summary report (which can be any time between July 2020 and January 2021). If you are still a student at the undergraduate/Master’s level at that time, then you (and your team) will be allowed to participate in SCORE 2021.

Q) I am currently a student at the undergraduate/Master’s level, but I will graduate in the year 2020, and then I will start working for a company. Can I still be part of a team participating in SCORE?

  • It depends on when the summary report is submitted. We will check the status of the members of a participating team at the time of the submission of the summary report (which can be any time between July 2020 and January 2021). If you are still a student at the undergraduate/Master’s level at that time, then you (and your team) will be allowed to participate in SCORE 2021.

Q) Can members of the same team come from different institutions or countries?

  • Yes, they can. Diverse teams are very welcome, although SCORE does not provide any mechanism to form or facilitate the interaction in such teams, so the team formation and management is up to the team members themselves.

Q) Is it required for each team to have a reference faculty member? Is it advised? What is a faculty advisor’s role?

  • There is no mandatory requirement on having a reference faculty member, although it is fine (and probably useful) if teams have one. It has to be understood that the faculty referent must be at most a general advisor, and must not participate actively in the development of the project by the team.

Q) What happens if a team composition changes after the team has registered?

  • A limited amount of changes in the team composition are allowed even after registration. For instance, the team may grow in size, or one person may be replaced. The contact person, however, cannot be changed. We also require that changes in team composition be promptly reported by updating the registration data in EasyChair.

On the synergy between SCORE and Software Engineering courses

See also the page dedicated to this topic.

Q) I teach a Software Engineering course at my University. Can my students develop SCORE projects within the course framework and timeline?

  • Absolutely! This is allowed and encouraged, is an excellent way to reach a large base of potential (and talented!) participants, and it is a great way for instructors to provide challenging projects to their students.

Q) How can I accommodate SCORE within my course schedule?

  • The SCORE timeline is designed to allow a project to be undertaken during 2020, to match well with most university course schedules. The target SCORE project size is approximately a standard one-term team project.

On project submission and evaluation

Q) How is the evaluation process managed?

  • The evaluation is a two-phase process. First, every team delivers a summary report (the deadline is 10 January 2020, but reports can be delivered earlier; see the CfP for suggestions on the production of the report). The report will be evaluated by members of SCORE’s Program Committee. Based on this first evaluation, a subset of the teams will be invited to submit full project documentation (see here), which will be used by the PC to select the finalists (to be invited to ICSE) and the winners (from among the invited finalists). The final evaluation may also depend on the teams’ oral presentations given at ICSE: suggestions will be given to the finalists on how to organize their presentations.

Q ) Under what license will the project have to be released?

  • SCORE 2020 will not force a specific license, which instead will be indicated by each sponsor in their project proposal. Still, (a) by default, we recommend the GPL license, which will grant reviewers access to the code for evaluation (see below) while preventing at the same time anyone to close-source and become proprietary of the project code afterward; (b) should their institution have different requirements, student teams and instructors are invited to reach out to the sponsors to identify an alternative license – in this case, we request teams to add the written agreement (even an email will suffice) to the project report when submitting it for evaluation.

Q ) Should the project source code be accessible?

  • Yes, regardless of the final license of the project, teams passing the first evaluation will be required to make the source code available to PC members as part of the full documentation. For this reason, we require teams to share their project on a code hosting platform such as GitHub or GitLab. All the material will be treated confidentially by the SCORE organizers and PC members.

Q) Can my team send the application code/test results/verification results, instead of (or in addition to) a 20-page document, as the summary report?

  • No, you will be allowed to submit only the 20-page report. You will be asked for additional, more in-depth information and deliverables for your project only if you are selected as a semi-finalist for the second phase of the evaluation.

Q) Does this mean that we can delay doing the implementation until we are selected as semi-finalists for the second phase of the evaluation process?

  • No. Given the short time (about a month and a half, from mid-January to March 2021) between the summary report and the final deliverable, it is expected that your project will be completed in all its aspects and fully documented by the time you submit the summary report. The report also documents your development process, which must have actually occurred.

Q) We are registered for the SCORE contest; do we have to wait until January 2021 to submit our summary report, even if we have finished it well in advance?

  • No, you don’t have to wait until January 2021 to submit the project’s summary report. If your project is completed earlier than the submission deadline, you can submit it when you are finished. When you are ready, please submit to EasyChair.

Q) We have already submitted the summary report for our project, but submissions are still open: can we submit a new version of the report?

  • Yes, you can modify your submission and send us a new, revised summary report as long as submissions are still open. Only your latest submission will be considered for evaluation (and will have to respect all criteria for eligibility for evaluation, including those on team composition).

Q) We have submitted the summary report well in advance of the closing date for submission: will you evaluate our project and notify us if we have been selected to send the final deliverable before the notification date?

  • No. To coordinate the program committee (PC) work, to be considerate to the PC members’ own need to schedule their reviewing, and to be sure that all reviews are equitable, all reviewing will take place between the report submission deadline and the notification deadline (8 February 2021).

Q) If our team is selected as a finalist, we’ll have a relatively short time to arrange our trip to Madrid. In particular, we may have trouble getting visas to travel. What can we do about that?

  • If your team is selected for submitting the final deliverable, you have a good (approximately 50%) chance of being selected as a finalist. Hence, we suggest that you tentatively start making your travel arrangements as soon as you are selected as a semi-finalist in February 2021. In addition, if you think the process for getting your visas may be particularly long, notify us as soon as possible, possibly when submitting your first summary report. ACM issues visa support letters after conference registration. We will do our best to notify the finalists as soon as possible, and to help to make their travel arrangements in time. More information about this issue will be made available when the submission deadlines are approaching.