Efficiently managing variant-rich systems

Dr. Ina Schaefer, Intitutsleitung

Product line engineering has gained considerable momentum in recent years, both in industry and in academia. A product line is a family of products that share a common set of features. Product lines challenge traditional analysis, test and verification techniques, in their quest of ensuring correctness and reliability. Simply creating and analyzing all products of a product line is usually not feasible, due to the potentially exponential number of valid feature combinations.
Furthermore, product lines require that variants are developed in a well-managed fashion which is usually not the case for existing systems.
Those are often obtained by copying and modifying the cloned variants such that the commonalities and differences are not (or not sufficiently) documented. This hinders efficient maintenance and evolution of the variants for future development. In this talk, strategies for transforming existing legacy variants into a product line by variability mining are presented. It is shown how the obtained product line structure can be exploited for efficient analysis, maintenance and evolution. The strategies will be illustrated using examples from the automotive and industrial automation domain.


Ina Schaefer is full professor and head of the Institute of Software Engineering and Automotive Informatics at Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. She received her PhD in 2008 at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern and was a Postdoc at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research interests include constructive and analytic approaches for developing correct software systems, with a particular focus on software variability and evolution, as well as re-engineering techniques for legacy software systems. The main application areas of her research are in automotive and automation.