ETAPS 2019
Sat 6 - Thu 11 April 2019 Prague, Czech Republic

TACAS is a forum for researchers, developers and users interested in rigorously based tools and algorithms for the construction and analysis of systems. The conference aims to bridge the gaps between different communities with this common interest and to support them in their quest to improve the utility, reliability, flexibility and efficiency of tools and algorithms for building systems.

Theoretical papers with clear relevance for tool construction and analysis as well as tool descriptions and case studies with a conceptual message are all encouraged. The topics covered by the conference include, but are not limited to:

  • specification and verification techniques;
  • software and hardware verification;
  • analytical techniques for real-time, hybrid, or stochastic systems;
  • analytical techniques for safety, security, or dependability;
  • SAT and SMT solving;
  • theorem-proving;
  • model-checking;
  • static and dynamic program analysis;
  • testing;
  • abstraction techniques for modeling and verification;
  • compositional and refinement-based methodologies;
  • system construction and transformation techniques;
  • machine-learning techniques for synthesis and verification;
  • tool environments and tool architectures;
  • applications and case studies.

Call for Papers

TACAS is a forum for researchers, developers and users interested in rigorously based tools and algorithms for the construction and analysis of systems. The conference aims to bridge the gaps between different communities with this common interest and to support them in their quest to improve the utility, reliability, flexibility, and efficiency of tools and algorithms for building systems.

Theoretical papers with clear relevance for tool construction and analysis as well as tool descriptions and case studies with a conceptual message are all encouraged. The topics covered by the conference include but are not limited to:

  • specification and verification techniques;
  • software and hardware verification;
  • analytical techniques for real-time, hybrid, or stochastic systems;
  • analytical techniques for safety, security, or dependability;
  • SAT and SMT solving;
  • theorem-proving;
  • model-checking;
  • static and dynamic program analysis;
  • testing;
  • abstraction techniques for modelling and verification;
  • compositional and refinement-based methodologies;
  • system construction and transformation techniques;
  • machine-learning techniques for synthesis and verification;
  • tool environments and tool architectures;
  • applications and case studies.

Important dates and submission

See the Important Days of ETAPS 2019. Submit your paper via the TACAS 2019 author interface of EasyChair. Please see additional instructions on submitting through the EasyChair interface that are available once you log into EasyChair and explain how to submit an artifact, etc.

TACAS 2019 will not have a rebuttal phase.

TACAS paper categories

TACAS accepts four types of submissions: research papers, case-study papers, regular tool papers, and tool-demonstration papers. Papers of all four types will appear in the proceedings and have presentations during the conference.

  • Research papers clearly identify and justify a principled advance to the theoretical foundations for the construction and analysis of systems. Where applicable, they are supported by experimental validation.

  • Case-study papers report on case studies, preferably in a real-world setting. They should provide information about the following aspects: the system being studied and the reasons why it is of interest, the goals of the study, the challenges the system poses to automated analysis/testing/synthesis, research methodologies and approaches used, the degree to which the goals were met, and how the results can be generalized to other problems and domains.

  • Regular tool papers present a new tool, a new tool component, or novel extensions to an existing tool, and are subject to an artifact submission requirement (see below). They should provide a short description of the theoretical foundations with relevant citations, and emphasize the design and implementation concerns, including software architecture and core data structures. A regular tool paper should give a clear account of the tool’s functionality, discuss the tool’s practical capabilities with reference to the type and size of problems it can handle, describe experience with realistic case studies, and where applicable, provide a rigorous experimental evaluation. Papers that present extensions to existing tools should clearly focus on the improvements or extensions with respect to previously published versions of the tool, preferably substantiated by data on enhancements in terms of resources and capabilities.

  • Tool demonstration papers focus on the usage aspects of tools and are also subject to an artifact submission requirement (see below). Theoretical foundations and experimental evaluation are not required, however, a motivation as to why the tool is interesting and significant should be provided. Further, the paper should describe aspects such as, for example, the assumptions about application domain and/or extent of potential generality, demonstrate the tool workflow(s), explain integration and/or human interaction, evaluate the overall role and the impact to the development process.

Paper length limits

The length of research, case-study, and regular tool papers is limited to 15 pages plus 2 pages for references in the LNCS format. The length of tool-demonstration papers is limited to 6 pages in the LNCS format, including the bibliography.

Appendices going beyond the above page limits are not allowed! Additional (unlimited) appendices can be made available separately or as part of an extended version of the paper made available via arXiv, Zenodo, or a similar service, and cited in the paper. The reviewers are, however, not obliged to read such appendices.

Tool paper artifact submission

This year, authors of regular tool papers and tool-demonstration papers are required to provide an artifact (format described below) with their submission. The artifact will be evaluated by the artifact evaluation committee (AEC) independently of the paper. The results of the artifact evaluation will be taken into account during discussion of the paper submission.

Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the PC chairs, but only in cases when the tool cannot be in any reasonable way run by the AEC. In such cases, the authors should contact the PC chairs as soon as possible (at least 7 days prior to abstract submission), ask for an exception, and explain why it is needed. An example of a case where an exception can be negotiated is a tool that must be run in some very special environment, e.g., on special hardware that cannot be virtualised in any way. Note that license problems are generally not an acceptable grounds for an exception. When an exception is granted, the authors should instead submit a detailed video showing their tool in action.

Posters and tool demonstrations

Subject to available space, authors of all accepted papers will be given an option to present their results in the form of a poster in addition to the talk. Moreover, again subject to available space, authors of regular tool papers and tool demonstration papers will be given an option to demonstrate their tool to conference participants in addition to giving their talk / presenting their poster. More information about the posters and demonstrations will be posted to the concerned authors in due time.

Submission and evaluation criteria

Evaluation: All papers will be evaluated by the program committee, coordinated by the PC chairs, aided by the case-study chair for case-study papers, and by the tools chair for regular tool papers and tool demonstration papers. All papers will be judged on novelty, significance, correctness, and clarity.

Replicability of results: Reproducibility of results is of the utmost importance for the TACAS community. Therefore, we encourage all authors of submitted papers to include support for replicating the results of their papers. For theorems, this would mean providing proofs; for algorithms, this would mean including evidence of correctness and acceptable performance, either by a theoretical analysis or by experimentation; and for experiments, one should provide access to the artifacts used to generate the experimental data. Material that does not fit into the paper may be provided on a supplementary web site, with access appropriately enabled and license rights made clear. For example, the supplemental material for reviewing case-study papers and papers with experimental results could be classified as reviewer-confidential if necessary (e.g., if proprietary data are investigated or software is not open source). In general, TACAS encourages all authors to archive additional material and make it citable via DOI (e.g., via Zenodo or Figshare).

Limit of 3 submissions: Each individual author is limited to a maximum of three submissions as an author or co-author. Authors of co-authored submissions are jointly responsible for respecting this policy. In case of violations, all submissions of this (co-)author will be desk-rejected.

Artifact evaluation

Artifact evaluation is compulsory for regular tool papers and tool-demonstration papers. Authors of all accepted research papers and case-study papers will be invited to submit (but are not required to) the relevant artifact for evaluation by the AEC. The AEC will read the paper and evaluate the artifact according to the following criteria: consistency with and replicability of results in the paper,

  • completeness,
  • documentation, and
  • ease of use.

More information can be found on the artifact evaluation webpage.

Competition on software verification

TACAS 2019 hosts the 8th Competition on Software Verification with the goal to evaluate technology transfer and compare state-of-the-art software verifiers with respect to effectiveness and efficiency. More information can be found on the webpage of the competition.

As in 2018, TACAS’19 will include artifact evaluation for all types of papers. For regular tool papers and tool demonstration papers, artifact evaluation is compulsory (see the TACAS’19 call for papers), for research and case-study papers, it is voluntary (papers with accepted artifacts will receive a badge).

Compulsary Artifact Evaluation for Regular Tool Papers and Tool Demonstration Papers

In TACAS’19, regular tool papers and tool-demonstration papers are required to be accompanied by an artifact for evaluation by the Artifact Evaluation Committee (AEC). An artifact is any additional material (software, data sets, machine-checkable proofs, etc.) that substantiates the claims made in the paper and ideally makes them fully replicable. As an example, a typical artifact would consist of the tool (in binary or source code form) and its documentation, the input files (e.g., models analysed or programs verified) used for the tool evaluation in the paper, and a configuration file or document describing the parameters used in the experiments. The AEC will read the accepted paper and evaluate the submitted artifact w.r.t. the following criteria:

  • consistency with and replicability of results presented in the paper,
  • completeness,
  • documentation, and
  • ease of use.

Results of the evaluation will be taken into consideration during the review phase of TACAS’19. Papers that succeed in artifact evaluation and are accepted will receive a badge. The fact that not all experiments are reproducible (e.g., due to high computational demands) does not mean automatic rejection of the paper.

Artifact Evaluation for Research and Case-Study Papers

Authors of all accepted research papers and case-study papers for TACAS’19 will also be invited to submit an artifact (in this case, the submission is voluntary). The artifact will be evaluated using the same criteria as above. Authors of artifacts that are accepted by the AEC will receive a badge that can be shown on the title page of the corresponding paper.

Artifact Submission

An artifact submission consists of

  • an abstract that summarizes the artifact and its relation to the paper,
  • [for research and case-study papers] a .pdf file of the accepted paper (uploaded via EasyChair), which may be modified from the submitted version to take reviewers’ comments into account,
  • a link to a .zip file (available for download) containing
    • a directory with the artifact itself,
    • a text file LICENSE that contains the license for the artifact (it is required that the license at least allows the AEC to evaluate the artifact w.r.t. the criteria mentioned above),
    • a text file README that contains detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to use the artifact to replicate the results in the paper, and
  • an indication whether the artifact will be publicly available and archived permanently.

Guidelines for Artifacts

We expect artifact submissions to package their artifact and write their instructions such that AEC members can evaluate the artifact using the TACAS 2019 Artifact Evaluation Virtual Machine for VirtualBox available here (login/password: “tacas19” / “a”, same password for root access). The virtual machine is based on Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS GNU/Linux operating system with the following additional packages: build-essential, cmake, clang, mono-complete, openjdk-8-jdk, ruby, and a 32-bit libc. Moreover, VirtualBox guest additions are installed on the VM, it is therefore possible to connect a shared folder from the host computer (see a how-to file in the HOME directory).

If the artifact requires additional software or libraries that are not part of the virtual machine, the instructions must include all necessary steps for their installation and setup. Any software that is not already part of the virtual machine must be included in the .zip file. AEC members will not download software or data from external sources, and the artifact must work without a network connection. In case you feel that this VM will not allow an adequate replication of the results in your paper, please contact the AEC co-chairs prior to artifact submission.

It is to the advantage of authors to prepare an artifact that is easy to evaluate by the AEC. Some guidelines:

  • Document in detail how to replicate most, or ideally all, of the (experimental) results of the paper using the artifact.
  • Keep the evaluation process simple through easy-to-use scripts and provide detailed documentation assuming minimum expertise of users.
  • For experiments that require a large amount of resources (hardware or time), it is recommended to provide a way to replicate a subset of the results of the paper with reasonably modest resources (RAM, number of cores), so that the results can be reproduced on various hardware platforms including laptops, and in a reasonable amount of time.
  • State the resource requirements, or the environment in which you successfully tested the artifact, in the instructions file (RAM, number of cores, CPU frequency).

Members of the AEC will use the submitted artifact for the sole purpose of artifact evaluation, We do, however, encourage authors to make their artifacts publicly and permanently available.

Artifact Evaluation Co-Chairs

Artifact Evaluation Committee