The goal of the Early Career Researchers Forum is to inspire and bring together early career researchers in the field of software architecture. The forum provides a vibrant place for discussing potential and ongoing research at any stage, from ideas to results. The forum strives to provide a friendly environment for early career researchers to get feedback on their work, exchange experiences, ask questions and explore available research pathways. In addition, the forum stimulates interaction between early career researchers and experienced academic and industry members of the community by offering a two-stage submission process that will enable early career researchers to obtain one-on-one feedback on their papers before submitting them for review.


Participation is open to anyone who considers themself an early career researcher, wanting to share research ideas and (preliminary or mature) results with their peers, and looking for an opportunity to inspire and be inspired, and to learn about research paths. Early career researchers in any stage of their research, including Ph.D. candidates, undergraduate students, and industry researchers, are all welcome. In addition, we highly encourage and invite early career researchers presenting their work in the main ICSA conference to also participate in this forum.


Areas of interest include software architecture, component-based software engineering, and quality aspects of software and how these relate to the design of software architectures, as provided by the scope of the 2018 ICSA conference.

ICSA Early Career Researcher Best Paper Award

The Early Career Researcher Best Paper Award may be given to the author(s) of an outstanding idea/contribution presented at the Early Career Researchers Forum. The award winner will be acknowledged during the main conference and given the opportunity to present their work within the main conference program.

Keynote speaker

Title: Push, Pull, Partner: A Few Models for Working with Industry

Speaker: Thomas Ball, Research Manager and Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research


Abstract: Microsoft Research (MSR) does basic and applied research across most of areas of computer science.  Many of the challenges that MSR researchers have in getting their ideas into “production” at the company should be of interest to early career researchers. I’ll discuss a number of examples from my 18 years at Microsoft and consider some classic models for interaction: push, pull, and partner.   I’ll also speak to the challenges inherent in building and maintain software platforms that serve both research and product needs.

Bio: Thomas (Tom) Ball is a principal researcher and manager at Microsoft Research. In 1999, He co-founded the SLAM software model-checking project, which led to the creation of the Static Driver Verifier tool for finding defects in Windows device drivers. Tom is a 2011 ACM Fellow for ‘contributions to software analysis and defect detection’. As a manager, he has nurtured research areas such as automated theorem proving, program testing/verification and empirical software engineering. His current focus is Microsoft MakeCode (, a platform for programming with physical computers


09:00 - 09:05Opening --- Grace Lewis and Romina Spalazzesse --- ECRF Co-Chairs
09:05 - 10:30Keynote by Tom Ball: Push, Pull, Partner: A Few Models for Working with Industry
Chair: Grace Lewis
11:00 - 12:30Paper Session: Emerging Topics in Software Architecture
Chair: Romina Spalazzese
  • Traceable Threat Modeling for Safety-Critical Systems (Johannes Geismann)
  • Architectural Technical Debt Identification and Management: Moving Forward (Roberto Verdecchia)
  • Engineering Software Architectures of Blockchain-Oriented Applications (Florian Wessling and Volker Gruhn)
12:30 - 13:30Lunch
13:30 - 15:00Panel: If I Knew Then What I Know Now
Facilitator: Romina Spalazzesse
  • Bara Buhnova, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
  • Heiko Koziolek, ABB Corporate Research, Germany
  • Patricia Lago, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Geoffrey Phipps, University of Washington, USA
  • Clemens Szyperski, Microsoft Corporation, USA
15:00 - 15:30Break
15:30 - 16:30Invited Talk  by Philippe Kruchten: Software Architecture Research: Science or Engineering?
Chair: Grace Lewis
16:30 - 17:00Closing Grace Lewis and Romina Spalazzesse --- ECRF Co-Chairs 


For more information please contact the ECRF Program Committee Chairs:

  • Grace Lewis (Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute, USA) – glewis(at)
  • Romina Spalazzese (Malmö University, Sweden) – romina.spalazzese(at)

Program Committee

  • Christian Berger – University of Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • Barbora Buhnova – Masaryk University (Czech Republic)
  • Radu Calinescu – University of York (UK)
  • Remco De Boer – ArchiXL (Netherlands)
  • Paola Inverardi – University of L’Aquila (Italy)
  • Heiko Koziolek – ABB Corporate Research (Germany)
  • Ivo Krka – Google Inc. (Switzerland)
  • Patricia Lago – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • Flavio Oquendo – IRISA – Université de Bretagne-Sud (France)
  • Ipek Ozkaya – Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (USA)
  • Cesare Pautasso – University of Lugano (Switzerland)
  • Ralf Reussner – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany)
  • Antonino Sabetta – SAP Labs (France)
  • Daniel Sykes – Ocado Technology (UK)
  • Eoin Woods – Artechra (UK)

Types of Submissions

There are three ways of contributing to the program of the forum:

  • Ongoing Research Papers (4 to 6 pages) presenting previously unpublished research, including motivation, goals, preliminary results, planned next steps, and industry impact of ongoing research.
  • Research Abstracts (2 pages) outlining (preferably more mature) research of early career authors that are also presenting in the 2018 ICSA main program, and would like to actively engage in the forum. The research presented in the forum does not have to be the same research presented in the main track. However, if it is the same research, please note that these abstracts cannot simply be the same abstracts from the paper in the main track. The two pages should contain a short summary of the work, details of current and potential industry impact, and ideas for future research related to this work that the authors would like to discuss in this forum to obtain feedback.
  • Emerging Ideas (2 pages) outlining very early ideas on a possible research topic, such as a potential dissertation topic, with the goal of obtaining feedback from forum attendees

In all types of submissions, we challenge the authors to think about the potential impact of their research on industrial practice (whether in the near- or long-term, based on the nature of the research), and to dedicate a section to the Industrial Impact of their work. The authors of Ongoing Research Papers  will be assigned an experienced mentor who will help the author prepare for the actual submission (Stage 1), and advise on potential areas or impacts that the authors may be missing. The mentor’s feedback will need to be reflected in the revised submission as a condition for the paper to be accepted (Stage 2).

Formatting and Submission Instructions

All submissions must conform to the Author Instructions , and be submitted electronically via the EasyChair submission system (Early Career Researchers Forum track), by the submission deadline, and must not have been published before. The ECRF track does NOT have a double-blind review process. You can ignore that part of the Author Instructions.


Important Dates

Ongoing Research Papers
  • Abstracts (mandatory) due: 8 February 2018
  • Papers due (Stage 1): 15 February 2018
  • Mentor feedback: 1 March 2018
  • Papers due (Stage 2): 15 March 2018
Research Abstracts and Emerging Ideas Papers
  • Abstracts (mandatory) due: 8 March 2018
  • Papers due: 15 March 2018
All types of papers
  • Acceptance notifications: 5 April 2018
  • Camera-ready due: 12 April 2018

Publication and Attendance

All accepted contributions will be published in ICSA 2018 Companion proceedings and appear in IEEE Xplore Digital Library. At least one author of an accepted contribution is required to register and present the work at the conference. ICSA 2018 will ensure that all accepted contributions can be presented regardless of US immigration rules.

Presentation and Discussion

To further facilitate the discussions around the presented research topics, we assign discussants to each presentation. Please find the description of the discussant below:

A presenter will give her/his talk about their research. Following the presentation, the discussants assigned to each paper will make brief comments (5 minutes), including some combination of:

  • how the paper made the discussant think differently about her or his own work
  • how the paper is related in some way to the discussant’s own work
  • some advice for the authors in continuing their work
  • identification of collaboration opportunities or synergies
  • discussion questions based on the presented paper