Towards Effective Variation-Control Systems

​Docent lecture by Thorsten Berger, Computer Science and Engineering.
Almost all software systems need to exist in multiple variants. Innovators create variants to experiment with new ideas and products. Organizations create variants to customize systems for different market segments, hardware platforms, runtime environments or nonfunctional properties, such as performance and energy consumption. The maintenance of long-living and variant-rich systems is a constant challenge for organizations, mainly addressed by rather heavyweight methods and tools from the research area of software product line engineering during the last two decades. Interestingly, the field of software configuration management has also worked on variant management since the 1970s, with solutions that integrate seamlessly into typical version-control systems. Unfortunately, these approaches were never adopted widely in practice.

In the talk, I will motivate the need for lightweight variant-management techniques that integrate seamlessly with current version-control systems. I will discuss important variant- and version-management concepts, and also hypothesize why the old systems developed in the 1970s and 80s never took off. I will then present my ongoing research on unifying variant- and version-control systems into "variation-control systems," providing examples of important practical scenarios that need to be supported (e.g., the migration of clone-based software variants to software product lines). A research agenda illustrating the most important remaining challenges and potential solutions will conclude my talk.
​Thorsten Berger belongs to the Software Engineering division of Computer Science and Engineering.
Category Public lecture
Location: Mötesrum 473, seminar room, Jupiter, Campus Lindholmen
Starts: 21 September, 2017, 13:00
Ends: 21 September, 2017, 14:00

Published: Fri 08 Sep 2017. Modified: Tue 19 Sep 2017