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2nd Hamburg RE Symposium – a Recap

In collaboration with HITeC, OpenReq and Iteratec, we organized the 2nd Hamburg Requirements Engineering Symposium on September 4th, 2019. This event gathered 65 participants from industry and academia to discuss the state-of-the-art in RE, particularly applying Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to Requirements Engineering and vice versa. The event consisted of two keynote speakers, 14 talks in two parallel tracks, and Demos/Posters as well as networking opportunities through the coffee and lunch break. With such a high turnout (twice as many people as last year) and positive responses from the participants, this event was a large success.

The first keynote was by Dr. Prof. Vogelsang from TU Berlin, titled: “Is AI changing RE or is RE changing AI?” started the event off strong. Vogelsang gave the audience a big picture perspective on AI and RE, and how the two fields are interacting with and changing each other. Following Vogelsang, Dr. Stettinger from TU Graz gave a presentation of OpenReq Live, the main tool output of the OpenReq project. To close the event, Prof. Dr. Mobasher from DePaul University in the US gave an in depth keynote on the current trend of Context-Aware Recommender Systems.

The talks at this year’s symposium included talks from OpenReq members, OpenReq OpenCall partners, and members from the RE industry. Besides the keynotes, there were four sessions at this year’s symposium. The topics of the sessions were: User Feedback, Requirements & Developers, RE in Practice: Specs and Beyond, and Machine Learning for Issue Trackers.

User Feedback provided insights into how RE can leverage the magnitude of end-user feedback that currently exists regarding software (and hardware) products. Requirements & Developers discussed how to connect developers with requirements, whether that be through supporting and enhancing their workflow, or building better requirements documents to make their job easier. RE in Practice: Specs and Beyond gave a refreshing perspective on how RE is conducted in practice, current challenges, and how state-of-the-art research is being used to enhance the workflow of requirements engineers. And finally, Machine Learning for Issue Trackers took a look at industry standard issue trackers to manage requirements, and how innovative work within OpenReq is improving how developers and requirements engineers interact with them.

Following the main event, there was a 90 minutes boat trip through the Hamburg harbor. The weather held out long enough for the participants to have a thorough history lesson while enjoying the beautiful views offered by the Elbe river and Hamburg harbor.

Finally, the 2nd Hamburg Requirements Engineering Symposium came to a close with the participants connecting over good food and a relaxed atmosphere.

Data Challenge

One of the most vibrant topics in requirements engineering research is the analysis of app reviews. The field is concerned with helping developers and managers to extract information from masses of unstructured and freely-written user reviews. The goal is to better understand user needs such as problems users face and features they wish would be integrated in the app. The Data Challenge was taking place on Monday and Tuesday of the OpenReq Week. We distributed six thousand app reviews labeled as problem report, feature request, and other. The participants were also given ten thousand English tweets containing the same labels, as well as issue tracker data to come up with ideas on how to perform an accurate classification. The winner of the Data Challenge, Tim Pietz, a computer-science student at the University of Hamburg, applied Google’s state-of-the-art deep learning model BERT to perform the classification task.  He successfully outperformed approaches from research by up to 7% (f1 score).

Eclipse Hackathon

The Eclipse Hackathon, in parallel with the Data Challenge, took place on Tuesday of the OpenReq Week. The objective of this Hackathon was to improve the Eclipse IDE with the help of OpenReq. Participants were asked to use the OpenReq Eclipse IDE Bug prioritizer plugin to find bugs to resolve. The plugin shows bug reports and feature requests from bugs.eclipse.org based on a personalized recommendations for the current user. It further shows the most discussed bugs in the last 30 days from bugs.eclipse.org to find bugs with a potentially high impact. The hackathon winner will be announced in a few weeks after we had been able to evaluation all contributions.

Final Thoughts

This year’s symposium was a huge success and we are very happy to have supported yet another year. If you have interest in the Hamburg Requirements Engineering community (or RE community in general), please reach out to our group to get in touch regarding RE research, industry contacts, the OpenReq project, or anything else you might have in mind.

Our staff volunteer to organize Pint of Science 2019

Pint of Science is an international non-profit organisation that aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on novel research being conducted in cities all around the world. Every year, thousands of researchers across 400 cities and 24 countries share their discovers with interested people in local pubs, bars, and cafes. 2019 is the second year that Pint of Science has been hosted in Hamburg. Davide Fucci, a member of the MAST group, has led the organisation and coordination of Pint of Science Hamburg since the beginning, and this year Lloyd (another member of MAST, shown below) participated in arranging the event. Other MAST volunteers from last year include Yen Pham and Daniel Martens. Other volunteers include Inga and Svenja, shown below with Davide.

PoS19 - Lloyd

PoS19 - Others

This year, two events were held: one at Malto and one at Cafe May (Eimsbüttel). The speakers had backgrounds in Physics, Journalism (with a Law degree), and Biology.

PoS19 - Speaker1

PoS19 - Speaker2

Both events had ~50 people in attendance. Reviews from the event were very positive, with comments of interesting talks, a fun evening, and good beer!

PoS19 - Crowd2

PoS19 - Crowd1

Doctoral Camp 2018

Doctoral Camp 2018!

The MAST Group annual Doctoral Camp was a great success! We took time to reflect on our research, presented our latest results and future PhD plans to our peers, and enjoyed some beautiful Northern-Germany sun. This four-day event provides the opportunity to think through research progress through research presentations given by each PhD researcher, connect with colleagues with shared meals and social events, and relax by absorbing the beautiful weather and landscape. The Doctoral Camp (DocCamp) was held at Fördeferien Bockholmwik, Germany.

Research Presentations

The Doctoral Camp presents the MAST PhD researchers the opportunity to communicate their research to the group. Different people are at different stages of their PhD, so the presentations varied. However, a constant among all presentations was the clear progress from last year, and valuable feedback provided by the other MAST members.

Meals and Social Events

The purpose of the DocCamp is more than just a research event, it is also a chance for MAST colleagues to talk about life, hobbies, and anything else that comes to mind. This provides the opportunity to learn about each other beyond the daily work we collaborate on. Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner was prepared by us as a group. We would then go outside and enjoy the meal together, discussing life and whatever else came to mind. Following a nice dinner, it was common to go on a walk through the beautiful landscape, talking about interesting side-projects we were working on, discussing future plans for our lives, and many other things. Between meetings and presentations, we played football and frisbee on the lawn. Additionally, we sat down in the evening to play our favourite board games.

Enjoying the Landscape

The DocCamp was held at Fördeferien Bockholmwik, in North Germany. We had a beautiful view of Denmark, just across the water. The beach, although narrow, provided a nice path to walk on for our nightly walks. Just behind our house was a nice open field, perfect for letting our minds think openly and enjoying outside games together. Thankfully, we were blessed with Sun Sun Sun! We definitely took advantage of the beautiful weather, and are thankful for the accessibility it provided to enjoy the landscape.

Overall, the DocCamp was a success, providing us all with a better understanding of our research, our colleagues, and the general direction of the MAST Group. Looking forward to next year!


1st Hamburg Requirements Engineering Symposium – Recap

Those that follow us already for a while know about our strong connection and contributions to the field of Requirements Engineering. With the received grant and responsibility in one of our current projects, OpenReq, and our chairholder Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej being the PC-Co Chair of the 26th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, we wanted to contribute to the RE community even more by running an RE symposium.

We are happy to report that the 1st Hamburg Requirements Engineering Symposium was a great success! Seven speakers from around the world discussed a wide range of topics with about ~40-50 participants, 10 from industry, 15 researchers, and the rest students.


On a sunny day, we welcomed all participants on our campus with snacks and drinks to be prepared for the presentations and discussions. The symposium began with introductions from Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej and Prof. Dr. Frank Steinicke. Between the two of them, we learned of the importance behind RE practices and research, and the history and prominence of the University of Hamburg.


Following the introductions, there were then presentations from top researchers in Requirements Engineering. Here is a photo recap of the presentations:


Günther Ruhe — Asymmetric release planning
RE Symposium 3


Kelly Blincoe — Modern software development: the stress and social pressure
RE Symposium 4


Liliana Pasquale — Topology Aware Adaptive Security
RE Symposium 5


Martin Glinz — How much RE do we need?
RE Symposium 6


Daniel Amyot — Evidence-Driven Evolution of Regulatory Requirements with Goal Models and Watson Analytics
RE Symposium 7


Anna Perini — The SUPERSEDE project
RE Symposium 8


Lloyd Montgomery — Conducting Research Industry Partnerships using Design Science: a Case Study with IBM
RE Symposium 9


In an effort to encourage networking, an outdoor snack-and-chat venue was provided. This venue was met with plenty of good conversation, absorbed Hamburg sun, and in-depth discussions regarding the presentations that occurred.

RE Symposium 10

The RE Symposium was concluded by going downtown to experience some Hamburg cuisine, and continue the discussions and networking.

Overall the RE Symposium was a success and an event that will likely be repeated in the future. Thank you to all who participated, and a special thanks to the sponsors of the event:

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