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Special issue on Program Comprehension through Dynamic Analysis

General information

Published in the July/August 2008 issue of the Journal on Software Maintenance and Evolution: Research and Practice (JSME) published by John Wiley & Sons.

See Volume 20, Issue 4 of the Journal of Software Maintenance and Evolution.

Connected with the PCODA series of workshops. Submission is open to everyone, also to non-PCODA 2007 participants.

Editors of the special issue:

  • Andy Zaidman
  • Abdelwahab Hamou-Lhadj
  • Orla Greevy


A thorough understanding of a software system is an absolute prerequisite for many common software engineering tasks, such as bug fixing, software adaptation and maintenance, and system reengineering or maintenance. Research into the area of program comprehension aims to reduce the impact of this real-life problem, which studies have shown to be impacting software engineers in the sense that they tend to spend up to 50% of their time trying to comprehend the inner-workings of a software system, before starting their actual task(s). Over the years, many relevant techniques and approaches have been presented to alleviate the program comprehension problem, either relying on static analysis, dynamic analysis or a combination of both. Two years ago, the International Workshop on Program Comprehension through Dynamic Analysis (PCODA) series was started, which tries to bring together the reverse engineering community actively working on dynamic analysis based solutions. This special issue is a direct consequence of the interesting ideas that we discussed during the PCODA workshops.

This special issue anticipates the submission of high-quality papers relevant to the field of program comprehension through dynamic analysis. Topics of interest include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • Dynamic analysis based techniques and tools
    • Applications of dynamic analysis techniques for program comprehension
    • Strengths and limitations of existing dynamic analysis techniques
    • Trace analysis and exploration techniques
    • Techniques for reducing the large size of run-time information
    • Hybrid analyses that involve both static and dynamic analysis
    • Dynamic analysis tools with an emphasis on program comprehension
    • Comparisons between existing tools and approaches
    • Dynamic analysis in the context of distributed systems
    • Dynamic analysis in the context of web services (or service oriented architectures)
  • Program comprehension models
    • Theories and models for software comprehension based on dynamic analysis
    • Program comprehension processes and strategies involving dynamic analysis techniques
    • Research methodologies when setting up program comprehension experiments
  • Evaluation Techniques
    • Criteria for evaluating dynamic analysis techniques; setting up benchmark experiments
    • Experiments and case studies with a focus on program comprehension using dynamic analysis
    • Empirical effectiveness studies of tools and approaches

Important dates

  • Submission due: 28th December 2007
  • Notification: 29th February 2008 (delayed until March 12th, 2008)
  • Revised versions due: 1st May 2008 (strict deadline)
  • Final decision: 30th May 2008
  • Anticipated Publication date: September 2008

Instructions for authors

Papers must contain original work, and should not have been previously published nor have been submitted to, or be in consideration for, any journal or conference. Papers building upon previously published work must contain at least 30% of new content. This new content can be added in terms of a more detailed description of the approach/discussion of results, new case studies, further improvements of the approach, etc. When submitting and extended version of a previous paper, authors are required to enclose the previously published conference/journal paper, and a cover letter explaining the differences between the submitted manuscript and the previous one. Please be aware that both editors and reviewers are required to check the submitted manuscript whether a sufficient amount of new material has been added to warrant publication in JSME.

Authors are responsible for understanding and adhering to the JSME submission policies, under “For Authors” at:

Papers should not exceed 18 pages in the JSME format (single space) or 36 pages (double space).

Submission instructions

Papers must be submitted through the JSME Manuscript Central Website: You will need to create an account there if you don't have one yet. When submitting the paper, please remember to:

  • indicate this is a special issue paper.
  • in "the Special Issue Information" field, indicate "Program Comprehension through Dynamic Analysis"
  • indicate Aniello Cimitile as editor
  • enclose a cover letter or previous papers that have been extended, if any

Further details

For any questions or further detail, please do not hesitate to contact Andy Zaidman (

-- AndyZaidman - 30 Jul 2008

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