2023 Southern California Software Engineering Symposium Unites Industry and Academia

June 21, 2023

Around 100 people gathered at UC Irvine on Friday, May 26, 2023, for the Southern California Software Engineering Symposium (SuCSES 2023). The half-day event, hosted by the Institute for Software Research (ISR), brought together industry leaders, technical practitioners and researchers to discuss software engineering trends and potential research collaborations.

“The key topic was AI in software engineering, with a lot of attention to ChatGPT and its impact on software engineering research and education,” says Informatics Professor Mohammad Moshirpour of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). He collaborated with his colleagues, Informatics Professors Crista Lopes and Iftekhar Ahmed, to organize the event, which featured a poster session, faculty talks and a keynote on AI-assisted coding by Erik Meijer, a senior director of engineering at Meta.

People gathered around posters, talking.
People gathered around posters, talking.
Students, faculty and industry leaders mingle during the poster session.

Showcasing Research
The event opened with a poster session featuring the work of ISR graduate students, showcasing their research into software design and architecture, software testing, and AI in software engineering.

It also featured the following faculty talks:

  • “Explaining Misprediction of Machine Learning Models in Software Engineering,” by Ahmed;
  • “Doppelgänger Test Generation for Revealing Bugs in Autonomous Driving Software,” by Joshua Garcia;
  • “Automatic Commit Message Generation,” by Lopes; and
  • “Human Aspects of Software Engineering” by Moshirpour.

In addition to these talks, Lee Martie, senior research scientist and manager at IBM, gave a presentation on “Rapid Development of Compositional AI.” Martie introduced a novel framework called (Bee)* (pronounced “beestar”), which supports building integrated, scalable and interactive compositional AI applications with a simplified developer experience.

Recognizing a Shift in Software Development
Meijer’s keynote, “The Programmer’s Apprentice Season 2: Advancements and Future Directions in AI-assisted Coding,” explored how AI has been applied at Meta, how its application fits into the context of large language models, and how generative AI is creating productivity tools that are more user- than task-specific. He considered how this continued evolution of AI-assisted programming is affecting the developer community.

“The keynote by Erik Meijer was a confirmation that the software industry is going through a major shift due to recent developments in AI,” says Lopes. “Things will look very different a couple of years from now. It’s an exciting time!”

Moshirpour agrees. “The highlight of the keynote was the perspective of AI in software engineering over the years and talking about what’s to come.”

Meijer stands at the front of the room in a tie-dye shirt.
Erik Meijer, a senior director of engineering at Meta, giving the keynote.

Uniting Industry and Academia
The event concluded with a social gathering, letting students and faculty mingle with industry professionals.

“These types of events provide excellent networking opportunities for the students and allow them to learn from experts,” says Moshirpour. “They are also key to bringing industry and academia together to foster innovative collaboration.”

Shani Murray