SCG News

Open Postdoc/PhD positions at the Software Composition Group - University of Bern

Applications are invited for a Postdoc and PhD candidates to participate in a research project on "Agile Software Analysis" at the Software Composition Group, University of Bern, Switzerland.

The Software Composition Group carries out research in software analysis and programming language design and implementation, with a view to enabling software evolution. The SCG is led by Prof. Oscar Nierstrasz and is part of the Institute of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics (IAM) at the University of Berne.

Details about the research topics can be found online:

The PhD candidates must have a MSc in Computer Science (equivalent to a Swiss MSc), should demonstrate strong programming skills, and have research interests in several of the following areas:

  • software evolution
  • program understanding
  • mining software repositories
  • software modeling
  • model-driven engineering
  • domain specific languages
  • dynamic analysis
  • software ecosystems
  • integrated development environments
  • software tools

The Postdoc should have completed a recent PhD on a topic closely related to the themes listed above.

To apply, please send an email including your CV to Prof. Oscar Nierstrasz (

Posted by Oscar Nierstrasz at 27 August 2015, 8:59 am comment link

Cognitive defusion mobile application — Developing a single page application for cognitive defusion exercises

Pascal Zaugg. Cognitive defusion mobile application — Developing a single page application for cognitive defusion exercises. Bachelor’s thesis, University of Bern, August 2015. Details.


Today’s software architecture for mobile applications is strongly bound to one specific operating system and its software development environment. Consequently, developers need to maintain at least two code bases for Android and iOS to reach a large share of smartphone users. In the last few years, driven by the increasing calculation power of mobile phones, a new approach emerged and Apache Cordova, a set of device APIs in JavaScript which allows developers to build mobile applications without writing any native code, was born. This thesis is about how to develop an application with Apache Cordova. It focuses on the use of technologies like Mercurial, Ionic and Calabash for Android with the aim to create reliable and well-tested mobile applications. An app for cognitive defusion exercises, formerly done with pen and paper, was developed as part of a master thesis by Alexandra Barth at the Institute of Psychology of the University of Berne. In a first step the development process is documented and technologies are explained so that, in a second part readers are invited to develop their own application by following an elaborated tutorial. As a result this paper shows that it is possible, with a certain amount of effort and the will to learn to handle different frameworks, to create cross-operating-system applications with the above mentioned goals.

Posted by scg at 26 August 2015, 3:15 pm comment link

Zeeguu Translate Application — Extending the Zeeguu Platform to the Android Device

Pascal Giehl. Zeeguu Translate Application — Extending the Zeeguu Platform to the Android Device. Bachelor’s thesis, University of Bern, August 2015. Details.


Zeeguu is a user based learning platform which enables the user to expand his vocabulary and receive feedback about his progress while he is reading about topics he loves. To reach the best efficiency possible, the user should be able to access the Platform from as many devices as possible, all connected with one single account. This way Zeeguu supports the user when he is reading foreign languages, monitors his progress of those languages and gives him further possibilities to improve the language everywhere and at any time. This paper introduces an Android application as an extension for the Zeeguu ecosystem and since Android is the leading mobile operating system, this work represents an important step towards getting Zeeguu into the daily life of the users.

Posted by scg at 26 August 2015, 11:15 am comment link

Spotter: towards a unified search interface in IDEs

Aliaksei Syrel, Andrei Chiş, Tudor Gîrba, Juraj Kubelka, Oscar Nierstrasz, and Stefan Reichhart. Spotter: towards a unified search interface in IDEs. In Proceedings of the Companion Publication of the 2015 ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Systems, Programming, and Applications: Software for Humanity, SPLASH ’15 p. to appear, ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2015. Details.


Program comprehension requires developers to reason about many kinds of highly interconnected software entities. Dealing with this reality prompts developers to continuously intertwine searching and navigation. Nevertheless, most integrated development environments (IDEs) address searching by means of many disconnected search tools, making it difficult for developers to reuse search results produced by one search tool as input for another search tool. This forces developers to spend considerable time manually linking disconnected search results. To address this issue we propose Spotter, a model for expressing and combining search tools in a unified way. The current implementation shows that Spotter can unify a wide range of search tools. More information about Spotter can be found at

Posted by scg at 25 August 2015, 6:15 pm comment link

HIKOMSYS: How I KnOw My SYStem — Learning About Java Dependencies Through Gamification

Dominique Rahm. HIKOMSYS: How I KnOw My SYStem — Learning About Java Dependencies Through Gamification. Bachelor’s thesis, University of Bern, July 2015. Details.


How well do you know the dependencies within your system? Dependencies between methods, classes, interfaces, libraries and even different projects play an important role in today’s Java projects. Our solution, called How I KnOw My SYStem (HIKOMSYS), is essentially a platform for developers to improve their knowledge. HIKOMSYS provides a way to learn more about a project. With the help of gamification, HIKOMSYS engages developers to learn about their projects, in particular about its dependencies, while having fun. After uploading a project hosted on Github, users are able to select the modules within this project and draw the dependencies between those. As soon as they complete a quiz, HIKOMSYS gives the users helpful feedback, by showing them the dependencies they ignored, those wrongly assumed and of course those they knew about. Furthermore, users working on the same projects are able to compare their knowledge about their system with the help of a ranking board, displaying the best results for each user and each project. Two different case studies, one quantitative with 23 students of the University of Bern and one qualitative, showed that users are very interested in learning about their projects with the help of our tool. Thanks to the gamification aspect of HIKOMSYS, some of the 23 students started comparing their results to see who did better and who knew more. Adding new levels with different difficulties would increase the fun users have in solving quizzes and competing against each other, as well as increasing their insight into their systems. Additional levels could also help improving the quality of a project, for example by suggesting possible refactorings, recommending improvements to a user’s project and letting them re-upload their project for re-evaluation. Furthermore, letting users guess which dependency is wrong in a given selection of modules or even asking multiple choice questions about properties and relationships existing among classes, methods and dependencies, would be a possibility.

Posted by scg at 7 July 2015, 11:48 am comment link
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Last changed by oscar on 27 August 2015