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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.

Radio interview about informatics and SCAn (in German)

The Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) has interviewed Prof. Maalej and Marlo Häring in the context of the BredowCast series about software engineering, the impact of informatics on society, and interdisciplinary collaboration between informatics and other fields, such as our project SCAn (Systematic Content Analysis for Journalism).

After introducing our research area, we chatted about the status and plans of the SCAn project. Manual moderation of user comments in online journalism is time-consuming. Most of the research and automated tools currently focus on filtering “bad” comments. In SCAn we would like to identify high-quality comments. By interviewing moderators and editors of online news sites, we identified and analyzed the current problems in dealing with user comments. Based on the interviews we developed a prototype with a few core features that we now focus on in our research (e.g. identifying pro/contra arguments and quality of comments).

M-Lab Client Acceptance Test

Once again we would like to invite you to the Client Acceptance Test, the final event of our annual lighthouse project course M-Lab. The students have worked hard in this semester and their projects are now in the final stage. During this event the students will present they projects and their “ready-to-use” apps. The “clients” will give feedback and judge the results.

A�Time: Thursday 29th January 2015 at 16:00

Place: Building F on the ground floor, Room F-132, Department of Informatics in Hamburg-Stellingen,A�


This is a public event within the university. Interested students, professors, and MOBIS partners, in particular from industry, are welcome to join. Note: this event will be in German.

More information about the course and the projects can be found here. There is also a compilation of M-Lab project posters available for download.

Talk by Prof. Maalej in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce

“My Smartphone is my Best Friend”. This was the title of Prof. Maalej’sA�talk on Mai 23rd in Albert-SchA�fer-Saal, the largest event room of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (Handelskammer Hamburg).
Prof. Maalej discussed the potentials of usage data and sensor data collected by modern context aware apps as well as the risks and limitations. One part of this discussion was the research on: “how we face the challenges ofA�BringA�YourA�OwnA�Device (BYOD)” that the EU project MUSESA�addresses.A�Prof. Maalej presented a research approach called “Situation Prediction” that automatically distinguishes between private and professional smartphone usage. After the talk there was a podium discussion with renowned people that offers new perspectives on security and privacy issues in the mobile era. About 200 listeners attended the informative event.

As the representative organisation of Hamburg’s enterprises, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce is the political lobbyist, mediator and advocate for the local business community of 159.000 enterprises. It’s the oldest Chamber of Commerce in Germany.


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Prof. Maalej is a winner of the Microsoft Research SEIF Award

Prof. Walid Maalej, the head of MOBIS, is a winner of the “2014 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation Award” by Microsoft Research.
The award is coupled with the project: STIMME- Systematic Analysis of User Reviews and Usage Data for Windows Mobile Apps.A�The SEIF award supports academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices, and teaching methods.

The SEIF 2014 Award is granted by Microsoft Research Connections Computer Science, in conjunction with the Research in Software Engineering Group, the Sensing and Energy Research Group, and Global Foundation Services.

More info at Microsoft Research.

MOBIS says goodbye to 2013

2013 – Year Nr. 1 in MOBIS life – is now over! We would like to thank the MOBIS team and everybody who helped us in making 2013 a very successful year. After the first release of our website in February 2013 we have had over 10.000 visits and about 5000 visitors from all over the world — far more that we expected. Thank you for your interest in our research and teaching activities! We have grown throughout the year and our very young research group now includes 14 members: 9 research assistants (and Ph.D. candidates), 3 students assistants, one admin, and the group head Prof. Maalej. Moreover, we had 5 visiting researchers from Canada, US, Egypt, and Germany. Overall, in 2013 we published 7 peer-reviewed papers at international conferences and journals and co-edited 2 books one on Requirements Knowledge and the other on Recommendation Systems in Software Engineering. We co-organized 3 international events where we brought together researchers and practitioners to discuss emerging topics on Mobile Services and Software Engineering. We also won two awards. Our group head Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej was honored as a�?The Early Stage Scientist of the Yeara�? across all sciences in Germany and Rebecca Tiarks received the pro exellentia scholarship for women in technology and natural sciences. Last but not least, our team designed and taught 3 new courses, amongst others the 2 renowned M-Lab courses, where students worked together with real companies on real projects. Some success stories are captured in movies in our YouTube channel.A�

Most importantly, we had a lot of fun! While working on tough problems, we had many vivid (sometime long) discussions. We also were on exciting trips where we met interesting people from all over the world.

Of course, we still have many tasks, which are still open and several challenges in research and teaching, which we plan to tackle in 2014. Just to mention two: the MOBIS team is currently working on 5 research proposals and developing 2 new lectures for master students. One thing is clear: 2014 will be as busy as 2013.

We wish all our team members, our students, our partners, collaborators, and colleagues ALL the best for 2014! Looking forward for new challenges, productive time, and lots of fun!

The MOBIS Team


M-Lab Final: Client Acceptance Test

The client acceptance test is the final and most exciting event of the lighthouse project course M-Lab. During this event the students will demonstrate their “ready-to-use” Apps to the customers, who will judge the results.A�The client acceptance tests will be a public event. Everyone interested is welcome to join.A�

Time: Thursday 11th July 2013 at 16:00

Place: Seminar room C-221, building C, the Informatics Campus of the UHH in Hamburg-Stellingen.



  • 16:00 Opening remarks by Prof. Maalej and the instructor team
  • 16:10 a�?Social and Sailing Navigationa�? by the Presentec team
  • 16:30 a�?Remote Control for an in-car Infotainment Systema�? by the Volkswagen team
  • 16:50 a�?Community Assessment of Telecommunication Service Qualitya�? by the I.C.H.N. team
  • 17:10 a�?Sale-Support of Special Financial Productsa�? by the Capgemini team
  • 17:30 Get together with snacks, drinks, and an exhibition of the apps


Prof. Robillard visit

From April 16th to April 26 Prof. Martin P. Robillard from McGill University (CA) is visiting our chair to continue our research collaboration on software documentation and recommendation systems, which has been highly productive so far. We are very glad to have him with us.

During his visit Martin will give 2 talks:

  • The first talk will be on Recommendation Systems for API Usage onA� Monday, April 22, 2013, 17:15 as part of the UHH Informatik Kolloquium (open to public).
  • The second talk will be on Conducting Empirical Evaluation in Software Engineering Research on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 14:00 as part of MOBIS doctoral seminar (closed).

Martin Robillard is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at McGill University. He is the recipient of four ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards and currently holds an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Award. He recently served as the Program Co-Chair for the 20th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, and is currently serving on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering and Empirical Software Engineering.