Doctoral Symposium

The SPLC Doctoral Symposium aims to provide a supportive environment that enables doctoral students to get feedback on and improve their research. Students will have the opportunity to discuss their work with experienced members of the community. Thus, the symposium offers a unique opportunity to gather valuable expert feedback and to get into contact with other students in the same field. The overall aim of the symposium is to improve the quality of doctoral theses in the area of software product lines. The event is dedicated to Ph.D. candidates (2nd year or later) with initial results that are not yet mature enough for a full conference paper. The SPLC doctoral symposium covers the same research topics as the main conference.

Part I: Research Plan

To participate, students should prepare a research plan answering the following questions:

  • What is the problem you intend to investigate?
  • Why is the work important?
  • How are you going to do the work?
  • When what has already been done and what remains to be done?

In detail, the following structure and content is strongly recommended:

Front matter

Title, your name, email address, personal website, abstract

Introduction and Motivation

Introduction (area of study); description of the problem (that you tackle); what the literature says about this problem (where does existing work fail?); how you (plan to) tackle this problem; how you (plan to) implement your solution/envisioned result; how you (plan to) validate your solution.

Research Issues, Objectives, and Questions (and Hypotheses)

The main research issues/objectives/questions/hypotheses clearly stated.

Research Methodology and Research Design 

The research method(s) you are using or plan to use, with appropriate references. 
The research design: how you concretely plan to apply the method(s), e.g., data collection and analysis, set-up for measurements/experiments, case studies, etc. 
How do you plan to evaluate your results? Threats to validity?

Preliminary key results or contributions

Outline/Overview of the proposed solution, results of preliminary data analysis, etc. 
An example to explain how the solution would work (this is very important!).
What is expected to be the main result or contribution?

Work plan 

Outline of the structure of your thesis. 
Work accomplished so far and work remaining to be done. 
Publication plan and other tasks planned. 
A detailed work plan for the next 6-12 months.

Key references 

The idea of the research plan is to provide clear material to be useful as a basis for guidance and discussion. Therefore, students should think about the above points carefully and try to make their ideas as concrete and clear as possible. Students at relatively early stages of their research will certainly have difficulty addressing some of these, but should still attempt to do the best they can. It is strongly recommended that students discuss these points with their supervisors!

Part II: Letter of Recommendation

Ask your supervisor/advisor for a letter of recommendation. It should include your name and an assessment of the current status of your thesis research and an expected date for thesis submission.


Submissions should include a research plan (8 pages max. in ACM SIGS proceedings format , tighter style) and a letter of recommendation. All submissions must be in English, in PDF format, and must not contain or cite proprietary or confidential material. The research plan and the letter of reference should be sent as one file via EasyChair.

SPLC 2016 Easychair submission link

Important Dates

Full papers: May 16, 2016 (extended) 

Notifications: June 20, 2016 (extended) 

SPLC 2016: Sept 19-23, 2016

Symposium Chairs

Li Zhang, Beihang University, China

Ebrahim Bagheri, Ryerson University, Canada

Program Committee:

  • Ebrahim Bagheri, Ryerson University
  • Li Zhang, Beihang University
  • Tao Yue, Simula Research Laboratory and University of Oslo
  • Shaukat Ali, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Julia Rubin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tewfik Ziadi, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-UMR CNRS 7606, LIP6-MoVe
  • Haiyan Zhao, Peking University
  • Xin Peng, Fudan University
  • Gilles Perrouin, PReCISE, University of Namur
  • Klaus Pohl, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Patrick Heymans, University of Namur (FUNDP) / PReCISE research centre
  • David Benavides, University of Seville
  • Stefania Gnesi, ISTI-CNR
  • Review and Evaluation Criteria 

    Submissions will be evaluated by at least two reviewers according to relevance, originality and feasibility of the described research. See also the points on the right sketching out the suggested content of the research plan. We recommend that you discuss the submission, the letter of recommendation, and the travel with your supervisor early on.


    The symposium will be held in conjunction with SPLC 2016. Each participant gets the chance to present his/her work (full presentation or short presentation) and will get feedback from the panelists and the audience. In particular, the presenters will be provided with an opportunity for direct discussions with the reviewers. Students are recommended to prepare particular points they want to get feedback on and/or want to discuss.