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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.

The SEmotion workshop will take place for the fourth time at ICSE 2019

The SEmotion workshop focuses on topics at the intersection of affective computing and software engineering.

Affective states such as personality traits, attitudes, moods, and emotions play a crucial role for developers performance as well as for the success of their product. For example, several software engineering tasks include acceptance and negotiation activities in which emotions play a crucial role—e.g., discussion about issues found on GitHub, or request for help on StackOverflow.

SEmotion is now at its fourth edition and has created an international community for researchers and practitioners in the area to present and discuss their work in progress regarding empirical studies, theoretical models, and tools to support affective computing in software engineering.

As for the previous three editions, SEmotion will be co-located with ICSE, a premier conference for software engineering research, in Montreal, Canada. This edition will be co organized by Davide Fucci from MAST, together with Bonita Sharif from the University of Nebraska in USA, and Giuseppe DeStefanis from Brunel Univesity in UK.

The SEmotion workshop series started in 2016 when ICSE took place in Austin, Texas and was co-organized by prof. Walid Maalej. Since then, researchers from MAST have contributed to the workshop programme and presented their work to this community.

For more information, check the workshop website.

Open Position: Full-Time Research Associate

You would like to pursue the challenge of doing a PhD in our Hamburg-based, internationally-recognized, highly-diverse team?

With immediate effect we recruit a research associate (for full details see PDF file). The contract is initially running for three years. The position is full-time. The selected candidate will be remunerated on the basis of the TV-L 13 salary scale. The desirable start is September 1st 2018. German language proficiency is required. 


Job description:

You will work in the intersection of the following fields:

  • Requirements engineering and management
  • Empirical software engineering and software analytics
  • Recommender systems, machine learning, and decision support technologies.

You will have multiple opportunities to interact with other researchers and projects at the research group lead by Prof. Maalej.

Tasks and duties:

  • Conduct your own research including conception, development, experimentation, and evaluation tasks
  • Involvement into teaching activities
  • Coordinate research activities, co-supervise students and junior researches
  • Publish and disseminate the research results

Job requirements:

  • Masters Degree
  • Excellent grades and academic record
  • Very high level of commitment, responsibility and self-initiative
  • Intercultural understanding and curiosity to work in new environments and on new topics
  • High knowledge and interest in research and teaching in at least two of the following topics:
    • Software engineering
    • Data science
    • Software applications
    • Empirical research
  • Good skills in the development of apps are of advantage
  • Good skills in modern software technologies, programming languages, and frameworks are preferred
  • Very good written and spoken German/English skills
  • Practical experience in software development and management
  • Experience in research projects, teaching (e.g., tutor-activities), as well as in scientific working and writing are of advantage

Application process:

Applications should include a brief letter of motivation (max. 1 page), the curriculum vitae, and copies of degree certificate(s). Please send your application as ONE PDF file (max 10 MB) to: ed.grubmah-inu.kitamrofninull@jelaam

The University aims to increase the number of women in research and teaching and explicitly encourages women to apply.

Application open until August 5th 2018.

Additional information:

Further information can be found on our research group website.
The university website can be found here.

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and has been recently found by The Economist as one of the top 10 cities to live in the world. Further information.

For further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej: tel. +4940428 83–2187; email: ed.grubmah-inu.kitamrofninull@jelaam

MAST @ ICSE 2018

Our research group was represented at this year’s ICSE, the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering. The conference took place from May 27 until June 03 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Dr. Davide Fucci published his work Sensing Developers’ Emotions: The Design of a Replicated Experiment at the 3rd International Workshop on Emotion Awareness in Software Engineering (SEmotion), co-authored with Daniela Girardi, Filippo Lanubile, and Nicole Novielli from University of Bari. 

Further, Dr. Davide Fucci presented a poster on The Effect of Noise on Requirements Comprehension, with Simone Romano, Giuseppe Scanniello, Natalia Juristo, and Burak Turhan.

Daniel Martens and Walid Maalej presented their work ReviewChain: Untampered Product Reviews on the Blockchain at the 1st International Workshop on Emerging Trends in Software Engineering for Blockchain (WETSEB).

Yen Dieu Pham presented her work A First Implementation of a Design Thinking Workshop During a Mobile App Development Course Project at the 2nd International Workshop on Software Engineering Education for Millennials (SEEM), co-authored with Davide Fucci, and Walid Maalej.

More information about the conference and the schedule of the presentations can be found at the ICSE website.

Clara-Marie Lüders and Yen Dieu Pham join our team!

We are happy to welcome two new researchers and PhD candidates in our group!

With a Master Degree in Mathematics, Clara Marie Lüders joined our team in September and will be working in the intersection of machine learning and software engineering. She received a competitive PhD scholarship by the University of Hamburg.

Yen Dieu Pham recently graduated in Architecture with distinction. She joined our team in November and will be working in the area of open innovation and smart cities.

With Clara and Yen our group will get smarter and more diverse. We are looking forward to work with them.

M-Lab App presented at the Press Conference of State

Hamburg’s State Minister of Science, Research and Equality Katharina Fegebank presented together with Prof. Maalej and Daniel Martens from our research department the new science app “Metropole des Wissens” at the State Press conference. The app is dedicated to all citizens interested in science. The aim of the app is to stronger connect science within the city state of Hamburg and the interested public.

The app is a success story for knowledge and technology transfer at the University of Hamburg. The initial version of the app was developed with the lighthouse-teaching project M-Lab. Within this course students develop innovative mobile apps by using the latest technology. At the beginning of the three-month course practice partners from industry, public sector, and civil institutions present the students their problem statements. The ministry for science, research and equality took part in the M-Lab course in 2015. A team of four students (Minka Halilovic, Javad Malaquti, Paul Mazgajski, and Daniel Martens) developed the initial version of the app, which aggregates content, such as news and events, of the scientific institutions within Hamburg. At the end of the project the students presented the app to the first and second major of the city of Hamburg within the town hall.

The app and its concept received great enthusiasm. It was further developed and tested, and is from now on available for free within the Apple AppStore. Katharina Fegebank, Hamburg’s State Minister of Science, Research and Equality: „With this app… citizen can dive in digitally with one click from anywhere in the Hamburg’s science“

Prof. Maalej concludes: “the students designed the app for the future and other institutions can easily integrate their content into the app — even Germany- wide” .

Follow the link to download the app within the Apple AppStore.


Press coverage:

M-Lab App “Metropole des Wissens” auf der Landespressekonferenz vorgestellt

Heute stellten die Wissenschaftssenatorin Katharina Fegebank gemeinsam mit Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej und Daniel Martens von unserem Arbeitsbereich die neue Wissenschafts-App „Metropole des Wissens“ auf der Landespressekonferenz vor. Die App richtet sich alle an der Wissenschaft interessierten Bürgerinnen und Bürger. Ziel ist es, die Wissenschaft in Hamburg noch stärker miteinander und mit der interessierten Öffentlichkeit zu verknüpfen.

Die App ist ein Erfolgsbeispiel für den Wissens- und Technologietransfer an der Universität Hamburg. Sie ist ursprünglich aus dem Lehr- und Innovationsprojekt M-Lab hervorgegangen, in dem Studierende unter Verwendung neuester Technologien innovative Smartphone-Apps entwickeln. Zu Beginn des dreimonatigen Projekt präsentieren die Praxispartner aus Wirtschaft, öffentlicher Hand und zivilgesellschaftliche Institutionen den Studierenden ihre Problemstellung. Auch die Behörde für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Gleichstellung nahm an M-Lab teil. Ein vierköpfiges Studententeam (Minka Halilovic, Javad Malaquti, Paul Mazgajski, und Daniel Martens) entwickelte dort die initiale „Metropole des Wissens“ App. Diese aggregiert die Inhalte, z.B. Neuigkeiten und Veranstaltungen, der wissenschaftlichen Institutionen Hamburgs. Im Anschluss an das Projekt haben die Studierenden dem 1. Bürgermeister und der 2. Bürgermeisterin die App im Rathaus präsentiert.

Die App und dessen Konzept stießen auf große Begeisterung. Sie wurde weiterentwickelt und getestet und ist ab sofort im Apple AppStore kostenfrei verfügbar ist. Katharina Fegebank, Senatorin für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Gleichstellung: „Mit der heute vorgestellten App tragen wir die Wissenschaft noch stärker in die Stadt und informieren Bürgerinnen und Bürger noch besser darüber, was es alles in den wissenschaftlichen Institutionen Hamburgs zu entdecken gibt. Damit kann man jetzt auch digital von überall mit einem Klick in die Wissenschaft der Stadt eintauchen. Der digitale Wandel erfasst nahezu alle Lebensbereiche. Wir gestalten diesen Wandel, nutzen seine Chancen und stärken die Schlüssel-Disziplin der Digitalisierung: die Informatik.“

Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej fügt abschließend hinzu: „Wir haben aus technischer Sicht alle Vorbereitungen getroffen um Inhalte weiterer außeruniversitärer Forschungsinstitutionen in die App zu integrieren. Dazu haben wir die neuesten Technologien verwendet. Ich würde mich sehr freuen in Kürze weitere Inhalte der Hamburger Wissenslandschaft integriert zu sehen – und in Zukunft im besten Fall auch bundesweite Inhalte.“.

MAST presents three papers and run one tutorial at RE17


At this years’ 25th International Requirements Engineering Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, MAST is represented with three papers and a full-day tutorial.

We are going to present the following papers:

Further, in collaboration with Maleknaz Nayebi and Guenther Ruhe from the University of Calgary, we are going to run the following full-day tutorial:

We are looking forward to a great conference and hope to meet you there.

Media event Hamburg’s chamber of commerce

shutterstock_116101690On Tuesday, June 13th, several members of our group, including Prof. Dr. Maalej, will participate in a large media event that will take place in the Hamburg chamber of commerce (Handelskammer Hamburg).

Together with our partners from the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, we will present the SCAN project, and how software analytics can assist journalists in their everyday work. The software tool that we are currently researching and developing analyses and aggregates the audience comments, and helps journalists identify useful comments and derive new journalistic stories.

We are looking forward to our presentation, the panel discussion afterwards, and to all the other talks of this events (see invitation below).

Hamburger Mediensymposium

Welcome Dr. Davide Fucci, our new PostDoc

MAST welcomes Dr. Davide Fucci, who joined our group as a postdoctoral researcher from the beginning of March.

Davide recently received his Ph.D. from the University of Oulu (Finland). He will be mainly working on the EU project OPENREQ, led by our group. Davide will also be involved in several teaching and research activities and co-supervising Master and PhD students.

We are looking forward to working with him.

Three top Canadian researchers visits us in March

During this month we have the pleasure to host three researchers from Canada.

On March 2nd, LIoyd Montgomery – a young researcher supervised by Daniela Damian (University of Victoria)-  visited us for 2 days and give a talk about his current research interest on mining issue trackers, followed by a discussion with the members of our group. Lloyd work with Daniela can be found here: http://thesegalgroup.org

On March 6th Prof. Guenther Ruhe (University of Calgary) is visiting us as part of on-going research collaboration.  He will give a short talk about Decision Making and Crowdsourcing in RE. Guther Ruhe is Editor in Chief of the Journal Information and Software Technology.  He will also serve as General Chair for RE’18 26th International Requirements Engineering Conference, while Prof. Maalej and Prof. Daniel Amyot will serve as program chairs. For more info see Guenther Ruhe homepage.

On March 27th-28th Prof. Dan Berry (University of Waterloo) is visiting us to initiate a new collaboration. Dan will also give his “famous” talk on “How to finish that damm Ph.D.“ Dan will also be available for 2 days for open discussions. For more info, see prof. Berry homepage https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/~dberry