Second Annual Southern California Software Engineering Symposium Builds Promising Partnerships

February 10, 2020

On Jan. 24, UCI’s Institute for Software Research (ISR) hosted its second annual Southern California Software Engineering Symposium (SuCSES). The event helps build bridges between software engineering researchers, industry leaders and technical practitioners by bringing them together to identify trends, discuss current and future research, and explore new technological directions. The daylong program featured industry keynote talks, short faculty talks, a lunch with a poster and demo session, and a career-oriented reception.

UCI graduate students Alissa Powers (left) and Kaj Dreef (right) talk to attendees at the SuCSES poster and demo session.

“SuCSES was a great success!” says Informatics Professor and ISR Director Sam Malek. More than 150 attendees represented a variety of companies and universities, including Boeing, Rockley Photonics, Vesedia, CSU Dominguez Hills, UCLA and Virginia Tech.

“The keynote speakers were fantastic, coming from two prominent high-tech companies, Google and IBM Research,” notes Malek. “They gave the audience a lot of food for thought.”

Evelyn Duesterwald of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center gave a keynote on “Engineering the End-to-End AI Lifecycle,” discussing the end-to-end lifecycle for machine learning models and ways to operationalize it using reusable components. The keynote by Daniel M. Russell of Google, “The Joy of Search: Adventures in teaching online research skills (and why that’s important for software engineering),” included a discussion of his experience teaching a massive open online course (MOOC) that has had over 4 million students.

Daniel M. Russell of Google giving his afternoon keynote talk on “The Joy of Search.”

“We also had six faculty speakers who provided excellent overviews of the latest and greatest research results from their labs,” adds Malek. In addition to talks by ISR professors Joshua Garcia, James A. Jones and David Redmiles from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), participants also heard from Yu Sun of Cal Poly Pomona and Chao Wang of USC. By bringing together industry and academic leaders, the symposium provided opportunities for unique partnerships.

“We had, for example, representatives from the SAP Corp. at the symposium that found some of the work of the ISR faculty to be highly relevant to some of challenges that they face,” notes Malek. “The symposium paved the way for further dialog and possibly funded collaborations to evaluate the adoption of the tools developed by the ISR faculty at SAP.”

The event also presented networking and internship opportunities for students. In fact, while the inaugural symposium was held in June, this year’s date was moved up to January to benefit students. “We intentionally moved the symposium from spring to winter this year with the goal of making it easier for our students to leverage these connections and get summer internships,” explains Malek.

Another change was that ISR partnered with the Master of Software Engineering (MSWE) professional program to host a career-oriented mixer at the end of the day. “The mixer provided an intimate setting where employers and students could interact one on one or in small groups,” says MSWE Career Development Manager Jaclyn Kung. “It connected local companies looking to hire with software-engineering-focused graduate students looking for internships and jobs.”

ISR and MSWE grad students network with company representatives at the career-oriented mixer.

If you missed the event but are interested in learning more about the research and discussions, check out videos posted to the ISR YouTube Channel. Also, be sure to save the date for next year’s symposium on Feb. 5, 2021, continuing the tradition of building partnerships to advance the field of software engineering.

Shani Murray