The Fourth IEEE International Workshop on Software Cybernetics


IWSC 2007


Beijing, China, July 24, 2007
(in conjunction with COMPSAC 2007)


Software cybernetics explores the interplay between software/software behavior and control. The fundamental question of interest is: when and, quantitatively speaking, how can software behavior, software processes, or software systems be adapted or evolved to meet old and new objectives in the presence of changes in the environment, such as disturbances, faults, or expanded requirements? This emerging and inter-disciplinary area addresses issues and questions on 1) the formalization and quantification of feedback and self-adaptive control mechanisms in software, 2) the adaptation of control theory principles to software processes and systems, 3) the application of software engineering principles and theories to control systems, and 4) the integration of the theories of software engineering and control engineering.

This workshop will serve as a platform for interaction among like-minded researchers and practitioners to 1) define/understand the emerging themes and directions of software cybernetics, 2) set forth the fundamental principles of control and software engineering on which software cybernetics must build, 3) articulate the on-going work in the area of software cybernetics, and 4) chart out an agenda for future theoretical and experimental research in this area.


Software technology and software systems greatly impact technological products, economic activities, defense, scientific research, and social life. The complexity of software continues to grow. Failures of software projects and software systems may incur high financial costs and even human life. There is no doubt that various software development processes and the complicated behavior of software systems must be kept functional and even evolved in the context of a changing environment. Conceptually, this is precisely the purpose of control theory, and hence the marriage of software and control engineering can be seen as the first stage in the development of software cybernetics.

Presently, most software development follows ad hoc approaches and depends heavily on software development personnel and company resources. Feedback mechanisms, ubiquitous in software processes and systems, have not been formalized, quantified, or optimized. Since feedback and optimization are two central themes in control and decision theories, a natural question to further ask is: what roles can feedback control based approaches play in the control of various software processes and systems and, more fundamentally, in their development?

Further, the widespread deployment of computers and embedded software in control systems poses a challenge to existing control theories that do not account for the special characteristics of software. In order to achieve satisfactory control of processes or, for example, the future intelligent home, the evolutional nature of software should be considered in synthesizing control policies. An important example of such a synthesis is the improvement of the reliability of fly-by-wire systems in modern aircraft whose underlying control laws should be robust to certain classes of software faults. It seems reasonable to consider software problems in the light of control theoretic formulation.

Software cybernetics unifies and expands various seemingly unrelated research topics under different umbrellas, such as adaptive software, adaptive rejuvenation, active security enhancement, supervisory control approaches applied to software synthesis, etc. It also gives birth to new and challenging research topics, such as feedback control of the software test process and adaptive testing.


IWSC 2007 is the successor of three previous workshops on software cybernetics whch were held in conjunction with COMPSAC 2004 (Hong Kong), 2005 (Edinburgh, UK), and 2006 (Chicago, USA).


The objectives of this workshop are:

  • To further identify and set forth various seemingly unrelated research areas that impinge on the emerging area of software cybernetics.
  • To further formulate and clarify the emerging fundamental principles of the new area, review the state-of-the-art, extend existing frontiers, and identify new research directions and application topics.
  • To assist various researchers and practitioners in this new area to become acquainted, promote cooperation and collaboration among them, and encourage others to join this research area.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Models and use of feedback mechanisms in software processes, simulation, and systems
  • Feedback control in software test process and fault-tolerant computing; active, robust feedback policies for software security
  • Robust software evolution using adaptive feedback control
  • Self-adaptive, self-managing, and learning software: architecture and algorithms
  • Adaptive testing; fault detection and localization for self-correction in software and software processes
  • Control of software rejuvenation; adaptive rejuvenation
  • Relationship between bisimulation and controllability
  • Application of supervisory control principles to software synthesis and safety control
  • Software architectures for control systems; software enabled control
  • Proactive and autonomic computing
  • Software-enabled control


March 1, 2007 Paper submission
April 5, 2007 Acceptance notification

April 30, 2007

Camera-ready copy and author registration


Papers must be submitted electronically via the IWSC 2007 Submission Page. Please follow the instructions posted on the web site. The format of submitted papers should follow the guidelines for IEEE conference proceedings. All papers will be carefully reviewed by at least three reviewers. Papers will be accepted (and can be submitted) as either regular papers, short papers, or fast abstracts. Acceptance and final category depends on reviewer feedback.

Accepted papers or fast abstracts will be published in the workshop proceedings of the 31st IEEE Computer Software and Applications Conference (COMPSAC 2007). At least one of the authors of each accepted paper or fast abstract must register as a full participant of the workshop to have the paper or fast abstract published in the proceedings.


General Co-Chairs

Kishor S. Trivedi
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Duke University

Qianxiang Wang
School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science
Peking University

Program Co-Chairs

W. Eric Wong
Department of Computer Science
University of Texas at Dallas

Bojan Cukic
Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
West Virginia University

Steering Committee  

Fevzi Belli, University of Paderborn, Germany
Kai-Yuan Cai, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China
Aditya Mathur, Purdue University, USA

Web Master 

Lei Zhao
Department of Computer Science
University of Texas at Dallas, USA

Click here for the complete list of organizing and program committees.


For IWSC, please contact the General Co-Chairs or Program Co-Chairs.
For COMPSAC, please visit .org/compsac/2007/


The authors of a number of selected papers of special merit will be invited to submit a revised and extended version of their papers for possible publication in a special issue in a Journal which is to be determined.