CTSE: 1st Workshop on
Control Theory for Software Engineering

August 31st, 2015 - Bergamo, Italy
Co-located with ESEC/FSE 2015

Workshop Theme

Self-adaptive software systems are establishing themselves as systems that continuously assure software requirements in spite of dynamic, unpredictable, and uncertain execution environments. Nonetheless, most of the current approaches lack the formal grounding needed to guarantee the effectiveness, robustness, and dependability of the adaptation mechanisms. Control Theory has developed a broad set of mathematical techniques for adapting physical plants. Although the parallel between the two adaptation problems is self-evident, a Control Theory for Software Engineering places unprecedented challenges for both disciplines. Software engineers are required to abstract system behaviors into mathematical models suitable for control and to devise broadly applicable development processes taking “controllability” as a first class concern. Control Theory, used to deal mostly with unchangeable physical laws and limited measurable quantities, has to readjust to a new playground where the “physics” of virtual environments is often a design choice, calling for a paradigm shift from classic control. This workshop aims to provide a forum for researchers active in the two disciplines, fostering the definition of software adaptation methodologies with control theoretical formal guarantees.



  • 09:00 - 09:15

    Opening Remarks

  • 09:15 - 10:30

    Keynote Speech

    Control of Computer Systems: From Embedded to the Cloud; Karl-Erik Årzén, Lund University

    Feedback techniques have been used in computer systems for quite some time. However, around 15 years ago the area started to ahieve increased attention and since then applications have been derived in everything from embeddded systems with real-time constraints, over desktops, to distributed systems, and cloud infrastructures. This presentation will describe the basis of this together with different examples. The focus here will be CPU resource management for Linux-based multi-core platforms. A resource manager developed within the European ACTORS project is presented and demonstrated using a multimedia demo. The approach combines integer programming with feedback in order to decide the application service levels and the amount of resources allocated to each application. In the second part an approach is presented that is only based on feedback and for which formal convergence analysis results can be derived. This resource manager is inspired by ideas from game theory.

  • 10:30 - 11:00

    Coffee Break

Technical Session

  • 11:00 - 11:10

    Control Theory Meets Software Engineering: The Holonic Perspective; Luca Pazzi

  • 11:10 - 11:20

    Robust degradation and enhancement of robot mission behaviour in unpredictable environments; Nicolas D’Ippolito, Sebastian Uchitel, Victor Braberman and Daniel Sykes

  • 11:20 - 11:30

    Quo Vadis Cyber-Physical Systems - Research Areas of Cyber-Physical Ecosystems; Christian Bartelt, Karina Rehfeldt and Andreas Rausch

  • 11:30 - 11:50

    Adaptive Predictive Control for Software Systems; Konstantinos Angelopoulos, Alessandro Vittorio Papadopoulos and John Mylopoulos

  • 11:50 - 12:10

    MORPH: A Reference Architecture for Configuration and Behaviour Self-Adaptation; Nicolas D’Ippolito, Jeff Kramer, Victor Braberman, Daniel Sykes and Sebastian Uchitel

  • 12:10 - 12:30

    SimCA vs ActivFORMS: comparing control- and architecture-based adaptation on the TAS exemplar; Stepan Shevtsov, Danny Weyns and Muhammad Usman Iftikhar

  • 12:30 - 14:00



  • 14:00 - 15:30

    Systems and control theory - a first introduction for computer scientists; Alberto Leva

    In this tutorial we shall see the very basics of system and control theory, taking a viewpoint oriented to their utilisation in the context of computing systems management and design. The tutorial is divided into three parts. The first part, that takes most of the tutorial, begins by introducing the concept of dynamic system, and providing a minimal taxonomy of dynamic system classes. After that, we concentrate on the discrete-time linear time-invariant one, defining its major properties, and how to assess them formally. We then see a couple of analysis and simulation tools, and carry out a few simple exercises. We finally move to the crucial concept of feedback, leading to very basic control design and assessment methods, and using the presented tools to put the introduced ideas to work. The second part shows a few application examples, in a view to highlighting the major issue of relating the quality and performance metrics of the control domain, to the way systems are specified and assessed in the computing context. The third and final part consists of a very brief presentation of open problems, perspectives and research directions, ending with a discussion.

  • 15:30 - 16:00

    Coffee Break

Hands on session

  • 16:00 - 17:00

    Systems and control theory - a first introduction for computer scientists; Alberto Leva

  • 17:00 - 17:15

    Discussion and closing remarks

Call for Papers

We invite high–quality submissions describing original and unpublished results on the use of control theoretical concepts for the design of software systems. We welcome theoretical, experimental, industrial, empirical, case study, position, and challenge papers, as well as multi-disciplinary work bringing results from other disciplines for the solution of problems related to software control and uncertainty management. We encourage the authors to facilitate reproducibility of their results by making available or describing relevant data sets and tools.

Papers must not have been previously published or be currently submitted elsewhere. If accepted, the paper must be personally presented at the workshop by one of the authors. The accepted papers will be included in the proceedings of ESEC-FSE 2015 edited by ACM SIGSOFT.

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Challenges in applying Control Theory for Software Engineering
  • Experience on the application of control for software systems
  • Event-based control for software systems
  • Equation-based control for software systems
  • Control methodologies and techniques for software
  • Design patterns and architectures for control
  • Verification and Validation of controlled systems
  • Mathematical modeling of software for control
  • Modeling of time and uncertainty for software
  • Model identification and continuous learning
  • Controller synthesis for stochastic behavioral models
  • Control strategies for dependable approximate computing
  • Distributed and collaborative software control
  • Control theoretical solutions for resource provisioning and energy awareness
  • Development processes for controllable software
  • Control theoretical solutions for software intensive cyber-physical systems

We solicit two types of submissions: full research papers (up to 8 pages including references) describing novel ongoing work to solve relevant problems and short position papers (up to 4 pages including references) focusing on open challenges and opportunities. All the submissions must be prepared in ACM conference format and comply with the format requirements of ESEC-FSE 15. Papers are to be submitted via EasyChair, using this link.

Important Dates

  • Abstract submission: May 29, 2015, extended to June 5, 2015
  • Papers submission: June 5, 2015, extended to June 15, 2015
  • Authors notification: June 29, 2015
  • Camera-ready submission: July 15, 2015


Program Co-Chairs:

  • Antonio Filieri, University of Stuttgart, DE
  • Martina Maggio, Lund University, SE

Publicity Chair:

  • Ilias Gerostathopoulos, Charles University, CZ

Program Committee

  • Javier Camara, Carnegie Mellon University, US
  • Nicolas D’Ippolito, University of Buenos Aires, AR
  • David Garlan, Carnegie Mellon University, US
  • Carlo Ghezzi, Politecnico di Milano, IT
  • Henry Hoffmann, University of Chicago, US
  • Samuel Kounev, University of Wurzburg, DE
  • Filip Krikava, University of Lille/INRIA, FR
  • Marta Kwiatkowska, Oxford University, UK
  • Alberto Leva, Politecnico di Milano, IT
  • Marin Litoiu, York University, CA
  • Sasa Misailovic, Massachussets Institute of Technology, US
  • Alessandro Vittorio Papadopoulos, Lund University, SE
  • David Parker, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Anders Robertsson, Lund University, SE
  • Eric Rutten, INRIA Grenoble, FR
  • Sebastian Uchitel, University of Buenos Aires, AR
  • Thomas Vogel, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, DE
  • Danny Weyns, Linnaeus University, SE