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SLE 2019
Sun 20 - Fri 25 October 2019 Athens, Greece
co-located with SPLASH 2019

The ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE) is devoted to the principles of software languages: their design, their implementation, and their evolution.

With the ubiquity of computers, software has become the dominating intellectual asset of our time. In turn, this software depends on software languages, namely the languages it is written in, the languages used to describe its environment, and the languages driving its development process. Given that everything depends on software and that software depends on software languages, it seems fair to say that for many years to come, everything will depend on software languages.

Software language engineering (SLE) is the discipline of engineering languages and their tools required for the creation of software. It abstracts from the differences between programming languages, modelling languages, and other software languages, and emphasizes the engineering facet of the creation of such languages, that is, the establishment of the scientific methods and practices that enable the best results. While SLE is certainly driven by its metacircular character (software languages are engineered using software languages), SLE is not self-satisfying: its scope extends to the engineering of languages for all and everything.

Like its predecessors, the 12th edition of the SLE conference, SLE 2019, will bring together researchers from different areas united by their common interest in the creation, capture, and tooling of software languages. It overlaps with traditional conferences on the design and implementation of programming languages, model-driven engineering, and compiler construction, and emphasizes the fusion of their communities. To foster the latter, SLE traditionally fills a two-day program with a single track, with the only temporal overlap occurring between co-located events.

SLE 2019 is to be held between October 20th and 22nd 2019, co-located with SPLASH and GPCE in Athens, Greece.

Proceedings will be available online.

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Mon 21 Oct
Times are displayed in time zone: (GMT+03:00) Beirut change

09:00 - 10:30: SLE 2019 - Session 1: SLE Welcome at Templars
Chair(s): Beatriz SanchezUniversity of York
sle-2019-papers09:00 - 10:30
Ralf LämmelFacebook London
10:30 - 11:00: Catering - Coffee break at Break area
splash-2019-catering10:30 - 11:00
Coffee break
11:00 - 12:30: SLE 2019 - Session 2: Grammars at Templars
Chair(s): Elizabeth ScottRoyal Holloway University of London
sle-2019-papers11:00 - 11:30
Nils WeidmannPaderborn University, Patrick RobrechtIndependent, Robin OppermannIndependent
sle-2019-papers11:30 - 12:00
Moeketsi RaselimoStellenbosch University, Bernd FischerStellenbosch University
sle-2019-papers12:00 - 12:30
Nils WeidmannPaderborn University, Anthony AnjorinPaderborn University, Erhan LeblebiciTechnische Universität Darmstadt, Andy SchürrTechnische Universität Darmstadt
12:30 - 14:00: Catering - Lunch at Restaurant
14:00 - 15:30: SLE 2019 - Session 3: Languages at Templars
Chair(s): Casper Bach PoulsenDelft University of Technology
sle-2019-papers14:00 - 14:30
Vasco SousaUniversité de Montréal, Eugene SyrianiUniversité de Montréal, Khady FallUniversité de Montréal
sle-2019-papers14:30 - 14:50
David BromanKTH Royal Institute of Technology
sle-2019-papers14:50 - 15:10
Markus Völteritemis/independent, Klaus Birkenitemis AG, Sascha Lissonitemis AG, Alexander Rimeritemis AG
sle-2019-papers15:10 - 15:30
Nick Papoulias Université Grenoble Alpes, France
15:30 - 16:00: Catering - Coffee break at Break area
splash-2019-catering15:30 - 16:00
Coffee break
16:00 - 17:30: SLE 2019 - Session 4: Parsing at Templars
Chair(s): Adrian JohnstoneRoyal Holloway, University of London
sle-2019-papers16:00 - 16:30
Elizabeth ScottRoyal Holloway University of London, Adrian JohnstoneRoyal Holloway, University of London
sle-2019-papers16:30 - 16:50
Moeketsi RaselimoStellenbosch University, Jan TaljaardStellenbosch University, Bernd FischerStellenbosch University
sle-2019-papers16:50 - 17:20
Lukas DiekmannKing's College London, Laurence TrattKing's College London
DOI Pre-print
17:30 - 18:00: SLE 2019 - SLE MIP Awards 2018 and 2019 at Templars
sle-2019-papers17:20 - 18:00

Tue 22 Oct
Times are displayed in time zone: (GMT+03:00) Beirut change

09:00 - 10:30: SLE 2019 - Session 5: GPCE Welcome at Templars
10:30 - 11:00: Catering - Coffee break at Break area
11:00 - 12:30: SLE 2019 - Session 6: Modeling at Templars
sle-2019-papers11:00 - 11:30
Manouchehr ZadahmadUniversité de Montréal, Eugene SyrianiUniversité de Montréal, Omar AlamTrent University, Esther GuerraUniversidad Autonoma de Madrid, Juan de LaraUniversidad Autonoma de Madrid
sle-2019-papers11:30 - 12:00
sle-2019-papers12:00 - 12:30
Sergio GarciaChalmers | University of Gothenburg, Patrizio PelliccioneChalmers | University of Gothenburg, Claudio MenghiUniversity of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Thorsten BergerChalmers | University of Gothenburg, Tomas BuresCharles University
12:30 - 14:00: Catering - Lunch at Restaurant
14:00 - 15:30: SLE 2019 - Session 7: DSLs and Composition at Templars
Chair(s): Eugene SyrianiUniversité de Montréal
sle-2019-papers14:00 - 14:30
Lars SchützeTechnische Universität Dresden, Jeronimo CastrillonTU Dresden, Germany
sle-2019-papers14:30 - 15:00
Philipp SeiferUniversity of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, Johannes HärtelUniversity of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, Martin LeinbergerUniversity of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, Ralf LämmelFacebook London, Steffen StaabUniversity of Koblenz-Landau and University of Southampton, Germany
sle-2019-papers15:00 - 15:30
Pierre JeanjeanInria, Univ Rennes, CNRS, IRISA, Benoit CombemaleUniversity of Toulouse, Olivier BaraisUniv. Rennes, Inria, CNRS, IRISA
15:30 - 16:00: Catering - Coffee break at Break area
16:00 - 17:30: SLE 2019 - Sessions 8: Types, ACID and Governance at Templars
Chair(s): Vadim ZaytsevRaincode Labs, Belgium
sle-2019-papers16:00 - 16:20
sle-2019-papers16:20 - 16:50
Elias CastegrenKTH Royal Institute of Technology, Kiko Fernandez-ReyesUppsala University
DOI Pre-print
sle-2019-papers16:50 - 17:10
André PacakJGU Mainz, Sebastian ErdwegJGU Mainz
sle-2019-papers17:10 - 17:40
Friedrich SteimannFernuni Hagen, Nils KurowskyFernuni Hagen
19:00 - 22:00: SLE 2019 - Dinner at Attica
sle-2019-papers19:00 - 22:00

Call for Papers

Topics of Interest

SLE 2019 solicits high-quality contributions in areas ranging from theoretical and conceptual contributions, to tools, techniques, and frameworks in the domain of software language engineering. Topics relevant to SLE cover generic aspects of software languages development rather than aspects of engineering a specific language. In particular, SLE is interested in contributions from the following areas:

  • Software Language Design and Implementation
    • Approaches to and methods for language design
    • Static semantics (e.g., design rules, well-formedness constraints)
    • Techniques for specifying behavioral / executable semantics
    • Generative approaches (incl. code synthesis, compilation)
    • Meta-languages, meta-tools, language workbenches
  • Software Language Validation
    • Verification and formal methods for languages
    • Testing techniques for languages
    • Simulation techniques for languages
  • Software Language Integration and Composition
    • Coordination of heterogeneous languages and tools
    • Mappings between languages (incl. transformation languages)
    • Traceability between languages
    • Deployment of languages to different platforms
  • Software Language Maintenance
    • Software language reuse
    • Language evolution
    • Language families and variability
  • Domain-specific approaches for any aspects of SLE (design, implementation, validation, maintenance)
  • Empirical evaluation and experience reports of language engineering tools
    • User studies evaluating usability
    • Performance benchmarks
    • Industrial applications

Types of Submissions

  • Research papers: These should report a substantial research contribution to SLE or successful application of SLE techniques or both. Full paper submissions must not exceed 12 pages excluding bibliography.

  • Tool papers: Because of SLE’s interest in tools, we seek papers that present software tools related to the field of SLE. Selection criteria include originality of the tool, its innovative aspects, and relevance to SLE. Any of the SLE topics of interest are appropriate areas for tool demonstrations. Submissions must provide a tool description of 4 pages excluding bibliography, and a demonstration outline including screenshots of up to 6 pages. Tool demonstrations must have the keywords “Tool Demo” or “Tool Demonstration” in the title. The 4-page tool description will, if the demonstration is accepted, be published in the proceedings. The 6-page demonstration outline will be used by the program committee only for evaluating the submission.

  • New ideas / vision papers: New ideas papers should describe new, non-conventional SLE research approaches that depart from standard practice. They are intended to describe well-defined research ideas that are at an early stage of investigation. Vision papers are intended to present new unifying theories about existing SLE research that can lead to the development of new technologies or approaches. New ideas / vision papers must not exceed 4 pages excluding bibliography.

Workshops: Workshops will be organized by SPLASH. Please inform us and contact the SPLASH organizers if you would like to organize a workshop of interest to the SLE audience. Information on how to submit workshops can be found at the SPLASH 2019 Website.

Artifact Evaluation

For the third year SLE will use an evaluation process for assessing the quality of the artifacts on which papers are based to foster the culture of experimental reproducibility. Authors of accepted papers are invited to submit artifacts. For more information, please have a look at the Artifact Evaluation page.



Submissions must conform to the ACM SIGPLAN Conference Format “acmart”; please make sure that you always use the latest ACM SIGPLAN acmart LaTeX template, and that the document class definition is \documentclass[sigplan,anonymous,review]{acmart}. Do not make any changes to this format!

Using the Word template is strongly discouraged.

Ensure that your submission is legible when printed on a black and white printer. In particular, please check that colors remain distinct and font sizes in figures and tables are legible.

To increase fairness in reviewing, a double-blind review process has become standard across SIGPLAN conferences. For the first time, SLE will follow the double-blind process. Author names and institutions should be omitted from submitted papers, and references to the authors’ own related work should be in the third person. No other changes are necessary, and authors will not be penalized if reviewers are able to infer their identities in implicit ways.

All submissions must be in PDF format.

Concurrent Submissions

Papers must describe unpublished work that is not currently submitted for publication elsewhere as described by SIGPLAN’s Republication Policy. Submitters should also be aware of ACM’s Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism. Submissions that violate these policies will be desk-rejected.

Submission Site

Submissions will be accepted at https://sle19.hotcrp.com/.

Reviewing Process

All submitted papers will be reviewed by at least three members of the program committee. Research papers and tool papers will be evaluated concerning novelty, correctness, significance, readability, and alignment with the conference call. New ideas / vision papers will be evaluated primarily concerning novelty, significance, readability, and alignment with the conference call.

For fairness reasons, all submitted papers must conform to the above instructions. Submissions that violate these instructions may be rejected without review, at the discretion of the PC chairs.


  • Distinguished paper: Award for most notable paper, as determined by the PC chairs based on the recommendations of the programme committee.
  • Distinguished reviewer: Award for distinguished reviewer, as determined by the PC chairs.
  • Distinguished artifact: Award for the artifact most significantly exceeding expectations, as determined by the AEC chairs based on the recommendations of the artifact evaluation committee.


All accepted papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library.

AUTHORS TAKE NOTE: The official publication date is the date the proceedings are made available in the ACM Digital Library. This date may be up to two weeks prior to the first day of the conference. The official publication date affects the deadline for any patent filings related to published work.


For additional information, clarification, or answers to questions, please contact the organizers by email (bruno@cs.hku.hk and gray@cs.ua.edu).

Accepted Papers

DOI Pre-print
DOI Pre-print

SLE will, for the third year, use an evaluation process for assessing the quality of artifacts on which papers are based. The aim of this evaluation process is to foster a culture of experimental reproducibility and to provide a peer review process for artifacts as well as papers.

Authors of papers accepted for SLE 2019 will be invited to submit artifacts. Any kind of artifact that is presented in the paper, supplements the paper with further details, or underlies the paper can be submitted. This includes, for instance; tools, grammars, metamodels, models, programs, algorithms, scripts, proofs, datasets, statistical tests, checklists, surveys, interview scripts, visualizations, annotated bibliographies, and tutorials.

The submitted artifacts will be reviewed by a dedicated Artifact Evaluation Committee (AEC). Artifacts that live up to the expectations created by the paper will receive a badge of approval from the AEC. The approved artifacts will be invited for inclusion in the electronic conference proceedings published in the ACM Digital Library. This will ensure the permanent and durable storage of the artifacts alongside the published papers fostering the repeatability of experiments, enabling precise comparison with alternative approaches, and helping the dissemination of the author’s ideas in detail.

The AEC will award the artifact that most significantly exceeds the expectations with a Distinguished Artifact Award.

Participating in the artifact evaluation and publishing approved artifacts in the ACM Digital Library is voluntary. However, we strongly encourage authors to consider this possibility as the availability of artifacts will greatly benefit readers of papers and increase the impact of the work. Note that the artifact evaluation cannot affect the acceptance of the paper, because it only happens after the decision about acceptance has been made.

The artifact evaluation process of SLE borrows heavily from processes described at artifact-eval.org and from previous experience in SLE, ECOOP, and ICSCME. The process is detailed in the below.


If and when your paper has been accepted for SLE 2019, you will be invited by the AEC chairs to submit the artifacts related to your work. This invitation will contain detailed instructions on how to submit your artifacts.

An artifact submission comprises the following components:

  • Paper: Preliminary PDF version of the accepted SLE 2019 paper. The paper will be used to evaluate the consistency of the accepted paper and the submitted artifact, as well as to assess whether the artifact lives up to the expectations created by the paper.
  • Authors of the artifact: This list may include people who are not authors of the accepted paper, but contributed to creating the artifact.
  • Abstract: A short description of the artifact to be used for assignments of artifacts to AEC members.
  • Artifact: An archive file (gz, xz, or zip) containing everything needed for supporting a full evaluation of the artifact. The archive file has to include at least the artifact itself and a text file README.txt that contains the following information:
    • An overview of the archive file documenting the content of the archive.
    • A setup / installation guide giving detailed instructions on how to setup or install the submitted artifact.
    • Detailed step-by-step instructions on how to reproduce any experiments or other activities that support the conclusions given in the paper.

If multiple artifacts relate to an accepted SLE paper, all artifacts should be collected in one archive and submitted together in one single submission. For instance, if a tool has been developed, a tutorial has been authored with detailed instructions on how to use the tool, and user studies have been performed for evaluating the tool’s properties, the tool, the tutorial, and the raw data collected in the user study should be packed in one archive file and submitted together in one single submission to the SLE 2019 artifact evaluation.

When preparing your artifact, consider that your artifact should be as accessible to the AEC as possible. In particular, it should be possible for the AEC to quickly make progress in the investigation of your artifact. Please provide some simple scenarios describing concretely how the artifact is intended to be used. For a tool, this would include specific inputs to provide or actions to take, and expected output or behavior in response to this input.

For artifacts that are tools, it is recommended to provide the tool installed and ready to use on a virtual machine for VirtualBox, VMware, SHARE, a Docker image, or a similar widely available platform.

Please use widely supported open formats for documents (e.g., PDF, HTML) and data (e.g., CSV, JSON).

Evaluation Process

Submitted artifacts will be evaluated by the AEC concerning the following criteria. Artifacts should be:

  • consistent with the paper,
  • as complete as possible,
  • well documented, and
  • easy to (re)use, facilitating further research.

Each submitted artifact will be evaluated by at least two members of the AEC. Thereby, the artifacts will be treated confidentially, as with the submitted paper.

Artifacts that pass the evaluation will receive an “Artifact Evaluated - Functional” badge and be invited for inclusion in the electronic conference proceedings published in the ACM Digital Library. Artifacts that will be included in the ACM Digital Library or that will be made permanently available in another publicly accessible archival repository will also receive the “Artifact Available” badge. Detailed definitions of these badges and the respective evaluation criteria may be found at the ACM Artifact Review Badging site.

The evaluation consists of two steps:

  1. Kicking-the-tires: Reviewers will check the artifact’s integrity and look for any possible setup problems that may prevent it from being properly evaluated (e.g., corrupted or missing files, VM won’t start, immediate crashes on the simplest example, etc.). In case of any problems, authors will be given a 6-days period (until September 5) to read and respond to the kick-the-tires reports of their artifacts and solve any issues preventing the artifact evaluation.
  2. Artifact assessment: Reviewers evaluate the artifacts and decide on the approval of the artifact.

Notification about the outcome of the artifact evaluation and reviews including suggestions for improving the artifacts will be distributed about one week before the deadline for the final version of the research paper, such that the outcome can be mentioned in the paper and the final artifact can be uploaded for inclusion in the ACM Digital Library.

Important Dates

  • August 16, 2019 August 18, 2019: Artifact submission (extended) (sle19ae.hotcrp.com)
  • August 30 - September 5, 2019: Kick-the-tires author response
  • September 25, 2019: Artifact notification

Further Information

For further information on the artifact evaluation of SLE 2019, feel free to contact the artifact evaluation chairs by email.

Software Language Engineering –

42 Frequently Asked Questions

Ralf Lämmel, Software (Language) Engineer, Facebook, Probability London


See the questions below. Beware of an Easter egg. As if I knew the answers or was entitled to answer! My talk will cherry-pick from the list and deliver informed opinions. Your questions and answers will be as good as mine.

On the term “software language” (SL):

  1. What is the definition of (the term) SL?
  2. What different types of SLs do exist?
  3. What are borderline examples of SLs?
  4. Why not just call it computer language?
  5. Why is such a broad notion useful?
  6. What parallels exist between software and natural languages?
  7. When was the term coined, by whom, and why?

On the term “SL engineering” (SLE):

  1. What is the definition of SLE?
  2. How can SLE be viewed as a specialization of SE?
  3. What’s the lifecycle of a SL?
  4. What’s the key notion of SLE? (Spoiler: “technological space”)
  5. How does SLE relate to CC, MDE, PLT, …?
  6. How does the “Tower of Babel” metaphor apply to SL(E)?
  7. When was the term coined, by whom, and why?

On the “SLE conference” (sleconf):

  1. What’s the mission of sleconf?
  2. What’s the stereotypical sleconf paper?
  3. What other conferences publish SLEish papers?
  4. Why did we need yet another conference?
  5. How is sleconf achieving world domination?
  6. When will its mission be accomplished?
  7. What happened to the position of the “cheese chair”?

On SLE research:

  1. What problems have been solved in the last 10 years?
  2. What are the emerging research themes (or domains)?
  3. What are open problems in SLE?
  4. Will we still see papers on parsing in 10 years from now?
  5. Will ontologies and mega models play a larger role?
  6. What’s next after “Globalization” of DSLs?
  7. Why do we suddenly stop feeling tired once we get into bed?

On SLE education:

  1. To what extent is SLE covered by university curricula?
  2. How (not) to integrate SLE into a curriculum?
  3. What are the learning objectives and acquired competences?
  4. What’s the SLE Body of Knowledge (or what should it be)?
  5. How much of it withstands the test of time?
  6. How to use chrestomathies in SLE education?
  7. How to use mega models in SLE education?

On SLE in practice:

  1. What’s the career profile of an SL engineer?
  2. What bad things happen when SLE isn’t properly used?
  3. How much SLE does Big Tech need now and in 10 years?
  4. Will technological space travel continue to grow?
  5. What’s the relevance of SLE in the new world of ML/AI?
  6. What technological changes, related to SLE, are happening?
  7. How was life like before the SLE epoch started on earth?


Ralf Lämmel is Software Engineer at Facebook since 2018 and Professor of Computer Science (currently on leave of absence) at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany since 2007. In the past, he had held positions at the University of l’Aquila, Microsoft, the Free University of Amsterdam, CWI (Dutch Center for Mathematics and Computer Science), and the University of Rostock, Germany.

His research and teaching interests include software language engineering, software reverse engineering, software re-engineering, mining software repositories, functional programming, grammar-based and model-based techniques, and, more recently, megamodeling. In his current work at Facebook, he applies machine learning (in a broad sense) in an infrastructural context while developing an increasing interest in data engineering and science.

He is one of the founding fathers of the international summer school series on Generative and Transformational Techniques on Software Engineering (GTTSE) and the international conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE). He is the author of Springer textbook on Software Language Engineering: Software Languages: Syntax, Semantics, and Metaprogramming, Springer, 2018.