CLOSED Call for Papers: Special Issue on Blockchain and Smart Contract Engineering

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Submissions Due: 15 January 2020

Important Dates

Paper Submission Deadline: CLOSED
Paper Notification: 15 March 2020
Camera Ready due: 31 May 2020
Special Issue Publication: September/October 2020

Blockchains help to build trust among a decentralized network of unknown and untrusted peers. Still, all peers need to agree on a common protocol and trust the correctness and compatibility of the corresponding software implementations. Despite the current implementations and available tools, there are still too few experiences to assess long term benefits and to foresight hurdles and challenges in blockchain software environments.

The software engineering (SE) discipline cannot ignore this breakthrough, and the developments of these technologies must be steered by SE principles. In fact, there is still room for improvements within the SE discipline in order to address limitations of blockchain-based software architectures. Software engineers need guidance for matching application domain requirements with the specific characteristics of blockchain solutions so that they can take advantage of smart contracts for solving new classes of real-world problems, as opposed to introducing blockchains everywhere, also where these are unnecessary or
provide an inefficient solution.

The goal of this IEEE Software special issue is to bring to light the fundamental connection between blockchains and software engineering, where the latest advances in software engineering may potentially find a natural application to the rigorous construction of safe and verifiable blockchain systems, while recognizing that blockchain and smart contract development also poses novel challenges for further software engineering research.

Articles submitted to the special issue should discuss the relationship between software engineering and blockchain by collecting and presenting
the latest advances and experiences in the following three formats:

  1. Blockchain technology deep dives, focusing on the software engineering challenges of building blockchain platforms and environments
  2. Research articles exploring the implications of blockchain on software engineering techniques, methods and tools.
  3. Experience reports with real-world applications of blockchains to different industry domains

For doing so, we have identified the following topics which are of interest for the software engineering community. Submissions are not limited to these topics and other possible topics at the intersection of blockchain and software engineering can be considered.

Blockchain software:

• SE aspects: requirements, architectures, security testing and assurance, methods, middleware, developers experience, performance modeling, persistence and general dependability, engineering human and computational trust
• Blockchain platforms and runtime environments (including wallets, multichains)
• Blockchain and data security/privacy
• Post-quantum blockchain: encryption and hashing techniques
• Public versus private versus hybrid chains
• Distributed ledgers: how to manage immutable data (and software)
• Human and legal aspects
• Green blockchains

Software and blockchains:

• Blockchain development tools and environments
• Debugging tools and techniques for blockchain applications
• Testing and smart contracts quality assurance
• Smart contracts programming languages
• Blockchain-based software architectures and architectural implications of blockchain
• Blockchain software design patterns
• Best practices of introducing blockchains
• Migration and decentralization of legacy systems
• Blockchain and deep learning

Applications to vertical sectors:

• Energy
• Healthcare
• Finance
• Voting and e-democracy
• Product traceability
• Internet of Things

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts must not exceed 3,000 words, including figures and tables, which count for 250 words each. Submissions in excess of these limits may be rejected without refereeing. The articles within the theme and scope will be peer-reviewed and are subject to editing for magazine style, clarity, organization, and space.

Articles should contain novel, previously unpublished content. They also 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.

IEEE Software does not republish material published previously in other venues, including other periodicals and formal conference or workshop proceedings, whether previous publication was in print or electronic form.

For general author guidelines:

For submission details:

To submit an article:

Questions? Contact the Guest Editors 

Xabier Larrucea, TECNALIA,

Cesare Pautasso, Software Institute, USI, Lugano, Switzerland,