The RSS group meets every week (except weeks for which a RSS meetup is scheduled) to discuss one exciting research paper from the software engineering community, in particular but not mandatory, papers on software verification and validation, programming languages, models of computation, concurrency theory, formal methods and theory of security, type systems, logic, and software architectures.

Seminar overview

Overall, the reading group seminar is organized as follow:

  • RSS’ members who wish to participate in the reading group seminar must subscribe to the rss-reading-group [at] mailing list.
  • The reading group seminar runs in two instances according to the academic calendar: (1) the fall/winter instance runs from the second week of September until the first week of February, and (2) the spring/summer instance runs from the third week of February until the second week of July.
  • On the last week of each month, 3 members from the RSS group are randomly selected and each member randomly assigned to a reading group session in the following month. Once each selected member receives the invitation, she/he must (1) chose a research paper she/he wishes to be read and discussed in the following month, (2) notify the mailing list of that choice, and (3) be prepared to present the paper in the assigned week.
    • Note 1: arrangements would be made if someone is not able to present the chosen paper in the assigned week.
    • Note 2: arrangements to the schedule or to the set of selected members would be made if any member, at any time, volunteer herself/himself to present a paper.
  • Due to COVID-19 and until further notice, the RSS group will meet virtually on Zoom.

An enjoyable and productive reading group session

A reading group session can easily turn into soul-draining boring meetings when a few things go wrong. In order to make a session fun, enjoyable, and productive, here is a list of recommendations (inspired from here) for a successful reading group meeting:

  1. The presenter must come prepared. Following Jeff Bezos’ motto “We have study hall at the beginning of our meetings.”, the presenter must write a 1-2 page review of the paper, print several copies of it, and share them with all participants at the beginning of the session1Due to COVID-19 and until further notice, the presenter could either share it by e-mail or using a public URL.. More info …

    The presenter should also be prepared to formally present the paper either using slides or any other technology. Keep in mind that the audience do not need to understand every single jargon in the paper, or every single parameter in the implementation. In general, the audience would like to understand what the authors of the paper were trying to address and why, what authors proposed, and what were the achievements.

  2. The participants must come prepared. All participants must read the weekly assigned paper and any related work they may need to understand the problem and/or background before the session. It is also recommended that all participants write down a couple questions they may have before the session. Note: while reading the weekly assigned paper keep in mind this advice on how to constructively review research papers. Additional info …
  1. The discussion process must be primed. The discussion phase needs some priming to achieve a fruitful discussion, a critical analysis of the paper, as well as brainstorming for creative extensions to the paper. All participants should be prepared (to some extend) to not only criticize/analyze the authors’ work but also to be aggressive in its effort and brainstorm to come up with “novel” research ideas.

In summary, a session runs for 60 minutes and it is organized as follow:

  • In the first 10 minutes of the session all the participants but the presenter read the presenter’s hardcopy review-report. (Meanwhile, the presenter prepare herself/himself to formally present the paper.)
  • In the following 15 minutes, the assigned RSS member to the session presents the scheduled research paper. The presenter is allowed to prepare a few slides if she/he feels more comfortable presenting the paper with that or if she/he thinks it would ease the dissemination of knowledge.
  • The remaining 35 minutes are reserved for discussion.

Fall/Winter 2020

Note: Some research paper links may point into the ACM digital library, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, or the Springer online collection. Using a FCUL IP address or off-campus access through VPN (instructions for students in here and instructions for employees, researchers and faculty members of the department in here) should provide access to those links.

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