IEEE Software Special Issue on Trends in Systems and Software Variability

Final submissions due: 1 October 2014
Publication date: May/June 2015

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are systems whose computational elements collaborate to control physical entities. A wide variety of CPS can be found in areas such as aerospace, automotive, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, robots, and consumer appliances. The challenge for building CPS product families relies on new methods able to address more efficiently, dynamically, and intelligently than ever before the context information needed by self-adaptive and CPS systems.

Over the past two decades, software product line engineering (SPLE) has been accepted as a successful software development approach for companies that must build multiple, related products at lower costs. Today, a variety of CPS systems can be viewed as product lines that exploit software variability for some of the activities they perform (for example, information gathering and reconfiguration alternatives). However, structural variability, as represented at design time in conventional SPLs, seems inadequate to face the dynamicity required by CPS systems for using context information. Reconfiguration and rebinding capabilities are new capabilities demanded by self-adaptive processes and used by CPS systems that demand multiple binding time support. While several SPL development strategies have been proposed and used, less attention has been paid to newer software variability approaches. Since 2007, research has advanced the state of the art with modern variability techniques able to deal with the many challenges of today's dynamic, critical, and real-time systems. Today, the increasing demand of self-adaptive and cyber-physical systems to exploit contextual information and the increasing need for runtime binding and dynamic adaptation of systems to varying conditions require new techniques and models able to support these dynamic conditions. Emerging paradigms such as dynamic software product lines that put the focus on runtime variability techniques attempt to address these challenges.

The IEEE Software special issue on Trends in Systems and Software Variability will present a variety of techniques, tools, and approaches for software variability that support the challenge of adaptation and awareness of CPS systems and its impact on recent software product line development approaches. We invite contributions related but not limited to:

  • architectures for cyber-physical systems that effectively support dynamic variability;
  • context variability and its representation; modeling techniques and viewpoints directed to modeling the contextual and physical properties of CPS;
  • techniques to raise awareness of software engineers to the runtime changes that arise from variability that is managed dynamically;
  • reconfiguration and rebinding strategies for binding system options at different stages (for example, redeployment, reconfiguration) and to ease the transitions between system operational modes;
  • new software product line development methods supporting runtime variability models and its impact in the SPL development lifecycle;
  • case studies on the impact on software evolution of dynamic variability models;
  • new variability realization, configuration, and deployment methods;
  • tools and models for managing both static and dynamic variability in CPS using context information;
  • industry cases and experience reports managing dynamic variability for different types of CPS;
  • approaches integrating variability management with other software engineering techniques and artifacts;
  • software variability techniques for self-adaptive and cyber-physical systems;
  • self-adaptive and CPS systems viewed as a dynamic software product lines (DSPLs); and
  • integration of runtime variability solutions into current SPL/DSPL practice.

Submission Guidelines

Full submissions for the special issue must not exceed 4,700 words including figures and tables, which count for 200 words each. Submissions in excess of these limits may be rejected without refereeing. The articles we deem within the theme and scope will be peer-reviewed and are subject to editing for magazine style, clarity, organization, and space. We reserve the right to edit the title of all submissions. Be sure to include the name of the theme or Special Issue you are submitting for.

Articles should have a practical orientation and be written in a style accessible to practitioners. Overly complex, purely research-oriented or theoretical treatments are not appropriate. Articles should be novel. IEEE Software does not republish material published previously in other venues, including other periodicals and formal conference/workshop proceedings, whether previous publication was in print or in electronic form.

For more information about the focus, please contact the Guest Editors:

For general author guidelines: www.computer.org/software/author.htm
For submission details: software@computer.org
To submit an article: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/sw-cs

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