Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Congratulations to Wing for being named a State Farm Companies Foundation Doctoral Scholar

Wing Lam, a PhD student in our ASE Illinois group, has been named a State Farm Companies Foundation Doctoral Scholar. Scholars receive a $6,000 fellowship for use during academic year 2016-2017.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Congratulations to Davis for being named a Siebel Scholar

Dengfeng "Davis" Li, an MS student in our ASE Illinois group, has been named a Siebel Scholar for the Class of 2017. He is one of five students in CS @ Illinois who received this award for 2017. In recognition of their outstanding academic record and leadership, the Siebel Scholars will receive $35,000 during their final year of study.

The student in the middle is Davis.

The student in the left is Davis. This picture is taken in UIUC CS department Fall 2016 Celebration of Excellence.

Read more here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Illinois ASE Group Going away party for Pinjia and Tao / Welcome back party

The Illinois ASE Group gathered on Sept. 9th, 2016 for celebrating the departure of Pinjia, our group's visiting student this summer, and Tao, who is going to China for teaching CS101 in ZJU-UIUC institute. We also celebrated MingMing, our new visiting student for joining our group!

Group members had dinner at Destihl and then headed out for laser tag. Two intense games between group members made us all sweaty as much as the heavy rain outside that night did too. Davis and Ping acheived remarkably high scores in shooting everyone. :)

After the games, all of our group members grabbed some drinks, fruits and ice creams at Schnucks and went to Tao's house to play the board game "The Resistance" supplied by Wing. The game was contested with Zhengkai's and Tao's talkative strategies and Pinjia acting like a real "silent spy".

Chiao, Davis, Mingming, Ping, Pinjia, Tao (Only join the board game), Wing, Zhengkai

Below are our pictures taken at Destihl:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Illinois Undergraduate Researchers Analyzing Code Hunt Data Set Released by Microsoft Research

Over the 2016 summer, a group of Illinois ASE undergraduate students, Pierre McCauley, Brandon Nsiah-Ababio, Joshua Reed, and Faramola Isiaka, advised by Professor Tao Xie, have been analyzing the Code Hunt data set (released by Microsoft Research) from a coding contest. Their undergraduate research has been supported by the National Science Foundations.

Code Hunt from Microsoft Research is a web-based serious gaming platform being popularly used for various programming contests. Over the summer, the Illinois ASE undergraduate students conducted preliminary analysis of the Code Hunt data set (players’ playing history) released by Microsoft Research. This data set contains the programs written by students (only) worldwide during a contest over 48 hours. There are approximately 250 users, 24 puzzles and about 13,000 programs.

The initial results of the data analysis will be presented in the 2016 International Code Hunt Workshop on Educational Software Engineering (CHESE 2016), co-located with FSE 2016 in Seattle, Washington in November 2016:

Pierre McCauley, Brandon Nsiah-Ababio, Joshua Reed, Faramola Isiaka, and Tao Xie. Preliminary Analysis of Code Hunt Data Set from a Contest. IProceedings of the 2016 International Code Hunt Workshop on Educational Software Engineering (CHESE 2016), Seattle, WA, November 2016. [PDF]

Great job, Pierre, Brandon, Joshua, and Faramola!! Look forward your further comprehensive study of the Code Hunt data set (with additional efforts from Jeremy Green) in the upcoming 2016 Fall semester!

Thank Microsoft Research for releasing the Code Hunt data set to engage the academic community to study such valuable educational data! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Great Presence of Illinois ASE in FSE 2016

Illinois ASE members will have a great presence in the 24th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2016), Seattle, WA, November 2016:

[1] Xuan Li, Zerui Wang, Qianxiang Wang, Shoumeng Yan, Tao Xie, and Hong Mei. Relationship-Aware Code Search for JavaScript Frameworks. In Proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2016), Seattle, WA, November 2016.  [PDF]

[2] Xia Zeng, Dengfeng Li, Wujie Zheng, Fan Xia, Yuetang Deng, Wing Lam, Wei Yang, and Tao Xie. Automated Test Input Generation for Android: Are We Really There Yet in an Industrial Case? In Proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2016), Industrial Track, Seattle, WA, November 2016. [PDF]

[3] Benjamin Busjaeger and Tao Xie. Learning for Test Prioritization: An Industrial Case Study. In Proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2016), Industrial Track, Seattle, WA, November 2016. 

[4] Wing Lam. Repairing Test Dependence. In Proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2016), Student Research Competition, Seattle, WA, November 2016.

One FSE 2016 Industrial Track paper [2] describes some initial results of ongoing high-impact collaborations between Illinois ASE and Tencent Inc. on testing WeChat, a highly popular messenger app with over 762 million monthly active users.

The other FSE 2016 Industrial Track paper [3] describes some initial results of ongoing high-impact collaborations between Illinois ASE and on improving testing practices at

These 2 papers are among the 6 papers accepted out of 31 submissions in the FSE 2016 Industrial Track.

Congratulations to Tao Xie for being honored as a Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborator

Professor Tao Xie, the lead of the Illinois ASE group, was recently honored as one of 32 Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborators worldwide.

In the 25 years since its founding in 1991, Microsoft Research has grown to be a worldwide symbol of excellence in computer science. Our over 1,000 scientists, engineers, and designers produce technologies that change the lives of people every day through their innovative software, systems, and designs. The Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborator Award 2016 highlight and celebrate some of the amazing academics who have worked with us over the years.

Per Tao's biography in the Outstanding Collaborator Award Booklet (see the extracted page for Tao's biography here), "Tao Xie has collaborated with Microsoft Research (MSR) over the last decade. As a visiting researcher in the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group, he personally contributed a core search algorithm for the automated test generation feature IntelliTest, which shipped as part of Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise Edition. Even more influential were his frequent visits to Microsoft Research in Redmond and China, which spawned dozens of collaborative projects. His students prototyped many new ideas on top of platforms and tools provided by MSR, in particular on the Pex4Fun project established by Nikolai Tillmann and Peli de Halleux. Over the years, Tao also deeply engaged with Dongmei Zhang and the Software Analytics group in China. This resulted in more than 60 joint high-profile publications in areas including automated test generation, computer science education, and software analytics."

Congratulations to Tao and our Illinois ASE!!! Such award is a recognition on the high impact that Illinois ASE has been making together with industrial collaborators such as Microsoft Research!!

ASEer Angello Astorga Awarded 2016 GEM Full Fellowship

Our ASEer PhD student Angello Astorga was awarded a 2016 GEM Full Fellowship. In 2016, only 54 PhD students in the USA received such honor as 2016 GEM Full Fellows. Congratulations, Angello!!!

Quentin Mayo Wrapping Up His Summer Internship at Illinois ASE

Quentin Mayo, a PhD student from the University of North Texas, spent his summer months at Illinois ASE, working on software security problems. He presented his poster during the ITI 2016 Science of Security Poster Session today. Well done, Quentin!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Illinois Software Engineering Ranked No 1 in Computer Science Rankings (beta)

Computer Science Rankings (beta) was developed and is maintained by Emery Berger, a CS Professor from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

According to the website, "Currently, this database includes US and selected Canadian and European CS or EECS departments (or equivalent); other institutions will be added in the near future." The rankings are based on counts of papers published in top venues in a specific research area. For example, the rankings consider three top conferences in software engineering: ASE, FSE, ICSE.

The website allows to produce rankings for all CS areas or for a specific CS area.

As of August 14, 2016, the Top 5 CS departments ranked in the website across all CS areas remain the same as the ones in the US News. In other words, Illinois CS is ranked No. 5. Here is the archived snapshot of the ranking shown on the website.

When considering only the software engineering area, Illinois CS is ranked No. 1. Here is the archived snapshot of the ranking shown on the website. 

Although impact should be what we pursue and are proud of, it is nice to see our software engineering area at Illinois CS gets good recognition in such rankings.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

First ASEer PhD Mithun Acharya Won Second Prize of ICSE 2016 Blue Sky Ideas Track

Our first ASEer PhD  Mithun Acharya (now at ABB Research) was the lead author of a paper on Code Drones, which won the Second Prize of ICSE 2016 Blue Sky Ideas Track. Below are contents extracted from the CCC Blog post. Congratulations, Mithun!!!

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) recently sponsored a Blue Sky Ideas Conference Track at the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), May 14-22, 2016 in Austin, TX. The purpose of this conference was to bring together the world’s leading software engineering researchers and practitioners to share cutting-edge results and visionary ideas, attend inspirational talks, and engage in lively conversation.
The goal of this Blue Sky Ideas Track called Visions of 2025 and Beyond was to encourage researchers to present truly visionary concepts on long-term challenges in software engineering research and ideas for attacking these challenges.

Former ASEer Undergrad Student KaMar Galloway Mentioned in the Google for Education Blog

The Google for Education Blog made a blog post on "Accelerating CS Education in Local Communities: The Stats by State", in which a former ASEer undergrad student (at NC State) KaMar Galloway, now a Program Manager of Google CS First, was mentioned:

"Our Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) provides opportunities for diverse students like KaMar Galloway to strengthen their CS skills and prepare them for a technical career. CSSI was instrumental in KaMar’s pursuit of CS at North Carolina State University and eventually his role on our CS First team, which aims to engage 1 million students in CS, particularly those from underrepresented groups."

See here an old news item from NC State on KaMar's winning the opportunity to attend 2009 Google Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI), seven years ago!

Very proud of what our former ASEers like KaMar are doing out there impacting the society!!

Warm welcome to Quentin Mayo, one of the new 2016 Science of Security summer interns

From Information Trust Institute at University of Illinois

Wishing a warm welcome to Quentin Mayo, one of the new 2016 Science of Security summer interns

Name: Quentin Mayo
Hometown: Tuskegee, AL
School: University of North Texas
ITI Advisor: Tao Xie

Why are you interested in studying/working in computer security?
Computer security is interesting because the problems people encounter today affects people tomorrow.

What kind of work would you like to do in the future?
My goal is to work at a national research laboratory. These types of labs combine government problems with academic level research.

What other plans do you have for the future?
Determine what it means to be successful. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Awesome ASEers give adviser a pleasant surprise

On a day like May 26th many many years ago, Prof. Tao Xie, principal investigator of the ASE group, was born. In celebration of his birthday, graduate student members of the ASE group wished to gift the adviser a meaningful present.

Surprisingly, selecting a gift was not the difficult part, ASE members quickly deduced that prof  Xie needed an upgrade for his wardrobe since his favorite T-Shirt is from a relic version of  SIGSOFT ISSTA conference. ASE members thought the new Illinois Fighting Illini Nike Never Stops T-Shirt would be a great choice. However, the most difficult part was finding the adviser since the month of May includes several business trips in the US and China.

Although late, Prof. Xie finally received his gift. ASEers, Angello, Chiao, Davis, Ping, Wei, and Wing wish Prof. Xie a Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Skillful EE-Undergrad-Major ASEer Davis Explored a Keyboard-Broken Laptop

A skillful EE-Undergrad-Major ASEer Davis Li explored different hardware parts of a keyboard-broken laptop (sometimes even having his eyes closed, c.f., the third and fourth pictures below), impressing much the advisor, who traditionally appreciated software more than hardware. Although the keyboard-broken laptop still remains keyboard-broken after Davis' skillful exploration, such exploration has demonstrated the versatile nature of our awesome ASEers!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

End of Academic Year Celebration of Awesome ASE Group & Sending Off Three Graduating ASEers

We went bowling, mini golf, and game during the end of academic year celebration of Awesome ASE Group and sending off three graduating ASEers: Ore (Oreoluwa) Alebiosu, Wesley Brooks, Mengqi Gu. Congratulations to them and wish them the best and make great impact in their future career!!

Celebration of Awesome ASEer Davis' 20ish Birthday!

Dinner by some Awesome ASEers for celebrating the Awesome ASEer Davis Li' 20ish Birthday!

Our Awesome ASE group has started a great tradition of celebrating our ASEers' birthdays!!

ASEer Wesley presented a poster in 2016 Digital Forensics Curriculum Standards Workshop

Graduating ASEer Wesley Brooks presented a poster in 2016 Digital Forensics Curriculum Standards Workshop.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Illinois ASEers: Play Hard, Work Harder, Work Smarter, Work Wiser.

Congratulation to Illinois ASEers, Awesome ASEr.ping128 (Ping Srisakaoukul), Awesome-ASEer-Android (Davis Li) and ASE Pexum (Chiao Hsieh) for dominating the popular game

While taking a well-deserved break from studying for finals, three Illinois ASEers rank in the top ten in


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Illinois ASEer Siwakorn (Ping) Srisakaokul and Illinois Team to compete in ICPC World Finals

Every year the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) brings outstanding computer science students from around the world together for several days of symposia talks, networking, and intensive computing competition at the ICPC World Finals.

This year CS @ ILLINOIS will be sending three students to the world finals, held this year in Phuket, Thailand, May 15-20. One thing that stands out about this year’s Illinois team is that two of the three team members are freshmen. The team members are CS freshmen Lan Dao and Xin (“Victor”) Gao, and CS graduate student Siwakorn (PING!) Srisakaokul.

We wish Ping and his team the best of luck! Go get them! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

UIUC Software Engineering's Ranking According to "Rank CS departments by publication productivity"

According to the Rank CS departments by publication productivity website, constructed by a Rice CS Professor, based on top-venue publications in software engineering from 2005-2014, among the top 50 US Universities in Computer Science, our UIUC Software Engineering is ranked as below:

  • Rank by group size: No 2, tie with USC and UCSD (No 1 is Carnegie Mellon University) (here is the snapshot taken on April 8, 2016)
  • Rank by aggregate output: No 1 (No 2 is Carnegie Mellon University; No 3 is UC Davis) (here is the snapshot taken on April 8, 2016)
  • Rank by maximal output: No 1, tie with University of Washington (No 2 is UC Davis; No 3 are Carnegie Mellon University and Georgia Tech) (here is the snapshot taken on April 8, 2016)
The ranking methodology is described here

Our faculty and students in the Programming Languages, Formal Methods, and Software Engineering (PL-FM-SE) area at Illinois have been always pursuing and emphasizing impact of our research, NOT pursuing numbers. But it is good to see that we are doing also very well in terms of publication productivity.

We look forward to new students to join our Programming Languages, Formal Methods, and Software Engineering (PL-FM-SE) area at Illinois to make further bigger impact!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Illinois ASEer Wesley Brooks and team win 2016 UIUC Intramural Basketball Championship

On March 17, ASE member Wesley Brooks (middle, front row) and his team won the IM basketball championship for the third year in a row!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Illinois ASEers Watched NCAA Basketball Championship Game Before Working Hard

Chiao HsiehWing Lam, and Wei Yang watched the NCAA Basketball Championship Game, and then after that, they held a Skype meeting with Peking University collaborators talking about deep learning, along with another ASEer Dengfeng Li (who couldn't come over to watch the game)! Play hard, work hard! Go, Illinois ASEers!!