CS527: Topics in Software Engineering

Course Overview

This course will focus on practical software engineeering topics relevant to software testing and debugging. We will together explore advanced testing and debugging techniques to detect, diagnose, localize, and fix software bugs for real-world software systems from various application domains. This course will not only expose students to the cutting-edge research of software testing and debugging, but will also encourage students to explore the bidirectional synergy between software testing/debugging and other research areas, such as formal methods (FM), programming languages (PL), machine learning (ML), and security. This course will cover the following topics on:

Class Organization

This course does not require any textbook. In each class, the students will participate in the discussion of research papers related to the same topic. Note that each student is expected to read the primary paper before each class. Both the primary and optional papers will be discussed for each class. During the class, the students will be randomly chosen to answer questions related to the papers, such as:

Grading Details

There is no exam! The grading will be mainly based on the following aspects:

Based on your points, you will get at least these grades: A (93%), A- (90%), B+ (87%), B (83%), B- (80%), C+ (77%), C (73%), C- (70%), D+ (67%), D (63%), D- (60%), and F (for less than 60%). The instructor reserves the right to lower the number of required points but will not increase them.

Tentative Schedule

Date Topics/Readings Memo
Module I: Background and Basics
01/17 Course Introduction
    Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
    01/19 Github and Build Systems
      Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
      01/24 Program Analysis Basics (I)
        Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
        01/26 Program Analysis Basics (II)
          Presenter: Lingming Zhang (see above link)
          01/31 Mutation Testing
            Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
            02/02 Formal Methods Basics Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
            Module II: Automated Testing
            02/07 Guided Unit Test Generation Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
            02/09 Symbolic Execution Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
            02/14 Spec-based Testing Presenter: Lingming Zhang (Slides)
            02/16 Proposal Presentation Each team should prepare 4-5 slides to present your proposal in class for about 5min, including:
            • Problem: the problem you want to work on and the background
            • Proposed solution: how you want to solve it
            • Evaluation: how you will evaluate it (e.g., with what benchmarks/subjects and what metrics)
            • Initial results: what you did so far
            • Future plan: what you will do in the midterm and final reports
            02/21 Grammar-based Fuzzing Presenter:
            02/23 Mutation-based Fuzzing Presenter:
            02/28 Learning-based Fuzzing Presenter:
            Module III: Testing and Debugging
            03/02 Differential Testing Presenter:
            03/07 Metamorphic Testing Presenter:
            03/09 Runtime Checking Presenter:
            03/14 Spring Break
            03/16 Spring Break
            03/21 Regression Testing Presenter:
            03/23 Fault Diagnosis and Localization Presenter:
            03/28 Project Midterm Presentation Each team should prepare 8-9 slides to present the midterm progress report in class for about 8min (plus 2min for Q&A), including:
            • Problem: the problem you are working on
            • Solution: how you are currently solving it
            • Evaluation: how you are evaluating it
            • Current results: what you did so far and whether you have met your midterm goal
            • Future plan: what you will do in the next month to wrap up the project
            03/30 Project Midterm Presentation
            04/04 Program Repair Presenter:
            Module IV: Testing&Debugging for More
            04/06 Testing&Debugging: Flaky Tests Presenter:
            04/11 Testing&Debugging: DL Libraries I Presenter:
            04/13 Testing&Debugging: DL Libraries IIPresenter:
            04/18 Testing&Debugging: DL Compilers Presenter:
            04/20 Testing&Debugging: FM Solvers Presenter:
            04/25 Project Final Presentation Each team should prepare 10-15 slides to present the final report in class for about 12min (plus 3min for Q&A), including:
            • Problem: the problem you are working on
            • Solution: how you are currently solving it
            • Evaluation: how you are evaluating it
            • Current results: what you did so far and whether you have met your final goal
            • [Optional] Future plan: some potential future work if you still have bandwidth after the course
            04/27 Project Final Presentation
            05/02 Testing&Debugging: DB Systems Presenter:

            Academic Integrity Policy

            The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Code should also be considered as a part of this syllabus. Students should pay particular attention to Article 1, Part 4: Academic Integrity. Read the Code at the following URL: http://studentcode.illinois.edu/.

            Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: http://studentcode.illinois.edu/. Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

            Students with Disabilities

            To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the as soon as possible. To insure that disability-related concerns are properly addressed from the beginning, students with disabilities who require assistance to participate in this class should contact Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) and see the instructor as soon as possible. If you need accommodations for any sort of disability, please speak to me after class, or make an appointment to see me, or see me during my office hours. DRES provides students with academic accommodations, access, and support services. To contact DRES you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603 (V/TDD), or e-mail a message to disability@uiuc.edu. Please refer to http://www.disability.illinois.edu/.

            Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

            Any student who has suppressed their directory information pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should self-identify to the instructor to ensure protection of the privacy of their attendance in this course. See http://registrar.illinois.edu/ferpa for more information on FERPA.

            Statement on Mental Health

            Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional well-being. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University's resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do -- for yourself and for those who care about you.

            Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820

            McKinley Health Center:217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801

            University wellness center: https://wellness.illinois.edu/

            Statement on Anti-Racism and Inclusivity

            The intent of this section is to raise student and instructor awareness of the ongoing threat of bias and racism and of the need to take personal responsibility in creating an inclusive learning environment.

            The Grainger College of Engineering is committed to the creation of an anti-racist, inclusive community that welcomes diversity along a number of dimensions, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, sexuality, disability status, class, age, or religious beliefs. The College recognizes that we are learning together in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, that Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous voices and contributions have largely either been excluded from, or not recognized in, science and engineering, and that both overt racism and micro-aggressions threaten the well-being of our students and our university community.

            The effectiveness of this course is dependent upon each of us to create a safe and encouraging learning environment that allows for the open exchange of ideas while also ensuring equitable opportunities and respect for all of us. Everyone is expected to help establish and maintain an environment where students, staff, and faculty can contribute without fear of personal ridicule, or intolerant or offensive language. If you witness or experience racism, discrimination, micro-aggressions, or other offensive behavior, you are encouraged to bring this to the attention of the course director if you feel comfortable. You can also report these behaviors to the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) (https://bart.illinois.edu/). Based on your report, BART members will follow up and reach out to students to make sure they have the support they need to be healthy and safe. If the reported behavior also violates university policy, staff in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution may respond as well and will take appropriate action.