Informatics Ph.D. Candidate Sumaya Almanee Wins Frank Anger Memorial Award

March 16, 2021

The ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) announced in February that Informatics Ph.D. Candidate Sumaya Almanee is the recipient of the 2021 Frank Anger Memorial Award.

“I was working on an extended version of the proposal I submitted to SIGSOFT when I received the news about winning the award,” says Almanee. “Needless to say, I was thrilled!” Almanee will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the ACM Conference on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE). “This definitely gave me the motivation and validation I needed to continue working on my paper and submit it to ESEC/FSE 2021.”

The award honors Dr. Frank Anger, a national leader in the field of software engineering who advocated for sharing ideas between research communities engaged in software. It comes with a $2,000 travel stipend to attend an ACM Special Interest Group on Embedded Software (SIGBED) conference. Similarly, the SIGBED recipient of the Frank Anger Award receives $2,000 to attend a SIGSOFT conference. As noted online, “the award is meant to improve the mutual awareness of the two research communities to the opportunities and challenges emerging in complimentary research areas.”

Almanee’s research interests lie in the field of software engineering with a focus on security, testing and analysis of autonomous vehicles (AV). “I recently developed a test generation framework which aims to find safety violations in the presence of an evolving traffic environment,” she explains. “My framework combines both AV software domain knowledge and search-based testing.”

According to Almanee’s adviser, Assistant Professor Joshua Garcia, her work is on the “cutting-edge of software engineering involving embedded devices and cyber-physical systems,” and he says he is “honored” to have her as a student. “She demonstrates brilliance, intelligence, and creativity by publishing this work in her field’s top conferences,” he says. “Besides obtaining such achievements, she gives back to her fellow students by serving as a grad mentor for the Graduate InterConnect Program and as the founding vice president of UCI’s chapter of Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS).”

“One of the main goals of WiCyS is to reduce the gender gap in cyber security by providing mentorship and networking opportunities, holding workshops and career fair events, etc.,” says Almanee. “I believe that women are still underrepresented in STEM and, more specifically, in security majors.” By winning this award and sharing her research at national conferences, Almanee is increasing the visibility of women in STEM and serving as a role model for others who hope to follow in her footsteps.

Shani Murray