General instructions

Format and submission

Papers must not have been previously published, or be in consideration for, any journal, book, or other conference. Papers will be evaluated by members of the program committee based on their originality, technical soundness and presentation quality. Submissions must conform to Springer's LNCS format.

The SSBSE Research Paper Track performs double-blind review of all submissions (i.e., authors will not be identified to reviewers and reviewers will not be identified to authors).

If a paper is accepted, at least one author is expected to attend the symposium and to present the paper. In case of a student paper, the first (student) author is expected to attend and present the paper.

Conference proceedings

Accepted papers will be published in a volume of the Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science series (LNCS).

Special issue for best papers

The authors of best selected symposium papers will be invited to submit extended versions of their papers for a special issue in one of the leading software engineering journals. Details will be announced soon.

Research Paper Track

We invite the submission of high quality papers describing novel and original work in all areas of SBSE including, but not limited to, applications of SBSE to novel problems, theoretical analyses of search algorithms for software engineering, rigorous empirical evaluations of SBSE techniques, and reports of industrial experiences.

SSBSE welcomes not only applications of search-based techniques from throughout the software engineering lifecycle. We also invite the application of a broad range of search methods – ranging from exact operational research techniques to nature-inspired algorithms, local search metaheuristics, and simulated annealing.

We particularly encourage papers that report on software engineering applications to which SBSE has not been applied before.

Research papers must have up to 15 pages in length, including all text, figures, references and appendices.

Abstract Submission
March 16, 2018
Full Paper Submission
March 22, 2018
March 29, 2018
Initial decisions
April 27, 2018
May 4, 2018
Final decisions
May 25, 2018
June 1, 2018
Camera Ready
June 15, 2018

Hot off the Press Track

This track is a forum for presenting novel ideas and ground-breaking results that open up exciting research opportunities for the SBSE community. We particularly encourage students and early career researchers to present inspiring research efforts that push the boundaries of SBSE.

This may include:

  • ground-breaking results that open up new research directions in SBSE;
  • new perspectives that call into question long held beliefs or conventions;
  • bold visions of new directions in SBSE;
  • novel interdisciplinary synergies; and,
  • more in general, “big” ideas for our emerging community of search based software engineering.

The track is intended to describe a well-defined idea at an early stage of investigation. While a complete evaluation is not expected, papers should include preliminary results that illustrate the feasibility of the approach.

Hot off the Press papers should address the following questions:

  • Why is the problem worth exploring?
  • What is the potential for disruption of current practice?
  • What makes the approach original?
  • Is the proposed approach sound and feasible?
  • Has the relevant literature been covered?

Papers submitted to this track should not exceed 6 pages in length using the regular symposium format.

Fast abstract submissions:

We are accepting 4 page submissions that are a shorter version of the Hot off the Press Track.

June 8, 2018
June 25, 2018
Camera Ready
June 30, 2018
Fast abstract Submission
July 4, 2018
Fast abstract Notification
July 6, 2018

PhD Track

The aim of this track is to give PhD students the opportunity to present their research and get feedback from experienced researchers in the SSBSE community. To obtain maximum benefit from this track, students should consider participating after they have settled on a research topic, with a defined problem statement and some ideas about the solution. Papers submitted to the PhD track should not exceed 4 pages, and should cover the following :

  • Related work in the area of study, which clearly defines the gap, and the problem to be solved with a justification of its importance.
  • The specific research question that arises from the identified problem.
  • The proposed approach.
  • Progress in solving the problem.
  • The main contribution(s).
  • Preliminary results.
June 8, 2018
June 25, 2018
Camera Ready
June 30, 2018

Challenge Track

Dr. Simon Poulding Award

In 2017 the SBSE community lost a member. Dr. Simon Poulding passed away in August. Simon was an active researcher on the field of SBSE and contributed to the birth of the Symposium on Search-Based Software Engineering. Simon and his colleagues made important contributions, mainly in the field of search-based software testing, introducing search-based statistical testing. Simon has also worked on Genetic Improvement, a growing area of SBSE. Besides his technical work, Simon was a very kind person.

To honor our friend, the SSBSE 2018 organization will deliver to the challenge track winner the Dr. Simon Poulding Award.

Call for Participation

We challenge everyone interested in SBSE to apply tools, techniques, and algorithms to our selected programs. We want you to apply your SBSE expertise to do interesting things to or with the software and uncover interesting things related to it.

The SSBSE Challenge Track, held in coordination with the SSBSE Symposium, is an exciting opportunity for SBSE researchers to apply tools, techniques, and algorithms on real-world software. Participants can use their SBSE expertise to do interesting things to open source development projects and uncover interesting things related to them. The principal criterion is to produce interesting results. The entrants of the SSBSE Challenge Track will compete for cash prizes totaling €1000.

The winners will be announced at SSBSE 2018, which will take place in Montpellier, France, Sept 8-10th, 2018.

Submitting to the Challenge Track

In order to participate, you should:
  • Focus your investigation on one of the selected programs (see below).
  • Report your findings in a six-page paper using the regular symposium format.
  • Submit the challenge paper on or before the deadline.
  • If your paper is accepted, present your findings at SSBSE 2018.

It is not mandatory for submissions to the SSBSE Challenge track to implement a new tool, technique, or algorithm. However, we do expect that applying your existing or new tools/techniques/algorithms to one of the challenge programs lead to relevant insights and interesting results.

Each submission must include a replication artifact aimed at helping reviewers make more informed decisions on acceptance and award. After the submission deadline, the track chairs will contact authors requesting a download link for their artifact package, which will then be shared with the assigned reviewers ensuring the review process remains double-blind.

The criteria for paper acceptance are the following:
  • Application of an SBSE technique to one of the programs below.
  • Technical soundness.
  • Reproducibility (artifact evaluation).
  • Readability and presentation.

Challenge Programs

Participants are invited to investigate and report upon one of the following open source projects. You are free to focus on any particular version or a comparison of different versions; you can also choose to analyse, test, improve, or apply any other SBSE-based activities to either parts or the whole of a project, including source code, documentation, or any other related resources (bug database, versioning histories, online discussions, etc.) that can be found freely available online.


LibreOffice is a large open-source productivity suite, implemented in several languages including C++, with a total of 8 MLOC. The project incorporates three levels of regression testing.


SQLite is arguably the most popular database in the world. It is designed for efficiency, simplicity, and can be deployed as a single C source code file. The project incorporates 338 KLOC and three separately developed test suites.


Gson is a Java library that can be used to convert Java Objects into their JSON representation and to convert JSON strings to equivalent Java objects. Gson can work with arbitrary Java objects including pre-existing objects for which you do not have source-code.


Flask is a very popular minimalist web framework for Python, with 9 KLOC. It comes with an extensive test suite.


MyExpenses is an Android app designed to keep track of your expenses and incomes, and to export them as QIF files into a desktop finance tool.

Submission Details

The papers must be at most six pages long in PDF format and should conform at time of submission to the SSBSE/Springer LNCS format and submission guidelines. They must not have been previously published, or be in consideration for, any journal, book, or other conference. Please submit your challenge paper to EasyChair on or before the Challenge track deadline. At least one author of each paper is expected to present it at SSBSE 2018. Papers for the Challenge track are also required to follow the double blind restrictions. All accepted contributions will be published in the conference electronic proceedings.

Challenge Track Jam Session

The SSBSE Challenge track is a good opportunity for new researchers to join the SBSE community and develop a taste and gain practical expertise in the field. It also allows researchers to apply techniques and tools to real-world software and to discover novel practical (or even theoretical) challenges for future work.

The CREST centre at UCL is a long-standing contributor of accepted papers to the Challenge Track. Their sustained success can be attributed in part to the organisation of a Jam Session in preparation for the Challenge Track submission deadline, as part of the CREST Open Workshops (COW) (See 2017 edition). This Jam Session runs over two consecutive days and is open to the public. Matheus Paixão and David White, former organisers of the session at CREST, kindly agreed to share their methodology with the goal of motivating other research groups to replicate their efforts in producing successful Challenge Track submissions:

  1. The organiser of the session overviews the Challenge Track call (e.g., describing how challenge track papers differ from technical research papers, subject systems, prizes, format and deadline).
  2. The organiser leads a technical discussion on the Challenge Track’s proposed systems, with emphasis on their amenability for SBSE techniques and tools.
  3. Attendees brainstorm and propose ideas (potential Challenge Track submissions).
  4. Ideas are discussed and refined collectively. Attendees sign up for the ones they find more interesting and feasible. A team is formed for each of the most promising ideas; the person who proposed the idea becomes the team leader.
  5. Break out into teams to turn selected ideas into projects and work on them throughout the first day.
  6. At the end of the first day, the audience reconvenes, each team reports on their progress, proposes a plan for the second day, and collects feedback.
  7. Teams continue to work on their projects during the second day. Each team presents the status of their project at the end of the second day. Projects deemed infeasible are abandoned and team members may join other teams.
  8. At the end of the two-day Jam Session, the team leader is in charge of leading the effort to ensure the project results in a submission to the SSBSE Challenge Track.

Further Information

If you have any questions about the challenge, please email the Challenge Track chairs.

May 27, 2018
June 8, 2018
June 4, 2018
June 25, 2018
Camera Ready
June 11, 2018
June 30, 2018