Interesting Quotes from AMD Canada Event

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On March 7th of last year I attended an OCE event called the “AMD HSA and Heterogeneous Computing Research Showcase.” I recently came across my notes from the event and I thought a few quotes from the keynote speaker, Phil Rogers from AMD Canada,  were worth sharing.

Phil Rogers on AMD’s commitment to open industry standards:

“open standards always win over time.” 

Phil Rogers on programming with threads:

“An expert can get two threads right. An expert can sometimes get three threads right… but cannot get all of the test cases right… doesn’t scale (to 100s of threads).”

Empirical Methods Should Guide the Development of New Software Engineering Tools

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The following quote is one of my favorite quotes regarding the right way to conduct Software Engineering (SE) research. It summarizes the importance of utilizing empirical methods to inspire and guide the development of new SE tools and techniques:

“In all fields of SE, empirical methods should enable the development of scientific knowledge about how useful different SE technologies are, for different kinds of actors, performing different kinds of activities, on different kinds of systems. Such scientific knowledge should guide the development of new SE technology and be a major input to important SE decisions in industry and services.”

– Dag I. K. Sjoberg, Tore Dyba, Magne Jorgensen. The future of empirical methods in software engineering research. In Proc. of ICSE 2007, Future of Soft. Eng. (FOSE ’07), pages 358-378, 2007.
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Predicting Mutation Scores

Last week my MSc student, Kevin Jalbert, presented his early thesis results at the Workshop on Realizing Artificial Intelligence Synergies in Software Engineering (RAISE 2012). The workshop took place in Zurich Switzerland and was colocated with ICSE 2012. The title of the presentation (and the paper that appears in the proceedings) was “Predicting Mutation Score Using Source Code and Test Suite Metrics.” The paper was awarded the Best Paper Award at the workshop.

Mutation testing can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of test suites and can also be used as an oracle during the creation or improvement of test suites. Mutation testing works by creating many versions of a program each with a single syntactic fault. These program versions are created using mutation operators which are based on an existing fault taxonomy (i.e., a set of known fault types that we are trying to find during testing). One mutation operator, Relational Operator Replacement (ROR), could create a new mutant version of the program in which one of the instance of a relational operator (e.g., <) is replaced with a different operator. For example, line 3 of the following Java source  code: Continue reading

Good Resources for Learning to Program with Concurrency

With the increase in multicore processors there has been an increase in demand for concurrent programming and an increase in books and resources that focus on programming with concurrency. Below I will outline some of the books on my own bookshelf that have been useful.
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The Importance of Incremental Research

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Last year Bertrand Meyer authored a post titled Long Live Incremental Research! at BLOG@CACM. Rather then writing my own post on the topic, I instead want to encourage people to read Meyer’s post as I think he does a great job of summarizing the importance of approaching research incrementally and not aiming for the next great breakthrough. A few quotes from his post:

“First, 99.97% of all research (precise statistic derived from my own ground-breaking research, funding for its continuation would be welcome) is incremental. Second, when a “breakthrough” does happen — the remaining 0.03%  — it was often not planned as a breakthrough.”

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Static Analysis Tools for Concurrency

Top 4 Reasons to Study Computer Science at UOIT

[Note: This is an old post and while many of the reasons remain true some of the data is old. A new post from 2017 is not available! Top Reasons to Study Computer Science at UOIT]

This Saturday, March. 3, 2012 from 10:00am-2:00pm UOIT will be hosting its annual Winter Open House for prospective students interested in studying at UOIT. This year myself and Dr. Christopher Collins will be coordinating the Computer Science lab tour. As the undergraduate program director for Computer Science, I will be providing a 30 minute overview of the Computer Science programs (comprehensive program, digital media specialization, digital forensics specialization) while Chris will be in the undergraduate lab where a number of our undergraduate students. The students will be available to give demos, answer questions and showcase Computer Science at UOIT.

I have participated in UOIT recruitment events for the past 5 years and I have answered a lot of questions from potential students and their parents. One of the most common questions that I get asked every year is:

Why should I choose to study Computer Science at UOIT?

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Humans and Concurrency

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“…humans are quickly overwhelmed by concurrency and find it much more difficult to reason about concurrent than sequential code. Even careful people miss possible interleavings…”

– Herb Sutter & James Larus, Microsoft. Software and the concurrency revolution. Queue, 3(7):54–62, 2005.

 

Software Testing Tools for Concurrency

As the use of concurrency in software increases there are more software testing tools being developed in both industry an academia. Below is a fairly comprehensive list of tools (mainly for Java):
  • ConTest – IBM concurrent testing tool that inserts random delays into Java bytecode
  • ConAn – a thread testing tool for Java
  • CHESS – a Microsoft tool for concurrent testing in Visual Studio
  • CalFuzzer – an active testing framework
  • ConMAn – mutation testing tool for concurrent programs written in Java
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