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by Michel Wermelinger and Paul Wernick

The fourth edition of this annual workshop took place in L'Aquila, Italy, 15-16 September 2008, under the auspices of the ERCIM Working Group on Software Evolution. The event gathered academics to present and discuss the state-of-the-art in research on software evolution.

This year's workshop was the result of a merger between the ERCIM workshop on Software Evolution and the IEEE International Workshop on Software Evolvability. Historically, the ERCIM workshops have dealt with the practicalities of developing software that can be changed to meet evolving needs and the tools and methods by which this can be best achieved, while the Software Evolvability workshops have generally addressed issues at a more abstract level, advancing the understanding of the causes and effects of software evolution using means such as analogies and models from biology, the sociology of technology and other areas.

The workshop was supported by ERCIM co-located with the 23rd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE 2008). The organisers were Michel Wermelinger (The Open University, UK), Paul Wernick (University of Hertfordshire, UK) and Ciarán Bryce (INRIA Rennes, France).

The workshop attracted 20 participants from ten countries. The programme consisted of ten long and four short papers, one keynote talk, and a closing panel. To make the event a true workshop, the schedule had plenty of discussion time built in, session chairs were asked to prepare in advance some discussion topics, and participants were given the papers in advance. The papers covered a wide range of topics, from run-time changes to long-term maintenance, from formal models to empirical studies of the state of practice in industry. Moreover, joining the two workshop series proved to be successful, with some papers taking up the theme of 'bridging boundaries' and looking for new techniques and insights in other disciplines – in particular healthcare, natural language processing and epidemiology. The full list of papers and authors can be seen on the workshop's website (see link at the end). The proceedings will be published in the IEEE's digital library.

Jean-Marie Favre (University of Grenoble, France) provided in his keynote address under the title 'Past, Present and Future of Software Evolution: From Software-Now to Software-over-Centuries' a view of the size of the territory covered by software evolution studies, both in subject matter and time. He made an analogy between the evolution of informatics and the evolution of human societies and pointed to the importance of looking at software evolution at various time scales.

Finally, in the closing panel, Jean-Marie Favre, Massimiliano di Penta (University of Sannio, Italy) and Serge Demeyer (University of Antwerp, Belgium) presented and discussed with the audience their views on the challenges and opportunities facing the software evolution research community.

Links:
Workshop Web site: http://evol08.inria.fr
Working Group Web site: http://w3.umh.ac.be/evol/

Please contact:
For information on the workshop:
Michel Wermelinger
The Open University, UK
Tel: +44 1908 659 539
E-mail: m.a.wermelinger@open.ac.uk

For information on the EVOL Working Group:
Tom Mens
Université de Mons-Hainaut, Belgium
Tel: +32 65 37 3453
E-mail: tom.mens@umh.ac.be