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Product Line Provides Winning Approach for SnT Researcher

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Published on Tuesday June 13 2017

Dr Jabier Martinez has been awarded an honourable mention by the Groupement de Recherche Génie de la Programmation et du Logiciel (GDR GPL). The award celebrates his PhD thesis written during his time at the University of Luxembourg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, in joint agreement with the Sorbonne University UPMC Paris 6. The GDR GPL is part of France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and the jury conferred this highly competitive award as recognition for Martinez’ ‘excellent and innovative work addressing a subject of great importance’.

Martinez’ thesis, Mining Software Artefact Variants for Product Line Migration and Analysis, draws on the manufacturing world’s product line approach, where for example, a range of very different cars will share a large number of the same parts. In the world of software engineering, however, the ideal of being able to exploit commonalities between products to provide tailor made yet economical solutions is not yet a reality in most of the cases.

“The challenge is that using a product line approach for software requires significant upfront investment – you need to build the reusable assets and the product line architecture from the start”, says Martinez, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at Sorbonne University. The result is that companies use an opportunistic approach, relying on ad-hoc, copy-paste-modify reuse techniques. “The numerous resulting variants are difficult to maintain, so adopting a systematic method through a Software Product Line approach is essential”.

Martinez’ framework, Bottom-Up Technologies for Reuse, provides an automated approach for capitalising on existing variants, identifying and extracting the common and varying elements. This was born out of his own frustration during his time in industry. “I had to do these tasks either manually or by implementing tricks in existing frameworks.” Martinez hopes that other researchers will go on to build upon his framework. “I am happy to provide it as open source, and my research experiments are available for repeatability. I worked hard to provide a framework that lends itself to extension.”

The award will be presented in Montpellier on 13 June 2017 as part of the GDR GPL’s Journées Nationales.

During his PhD, Martinez worked under the direction of Prof. Yves le Traon (SnT, Serval Research Group) and Prof. Mikal Ziane (Lip6, Sorbonne University, UPMC Paris 6). His supervisors were Dr. Jacques Klein (SnT) and Dr. Tewfik Ziadi (UPMC).