Call for research papers

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The International Systems and Software Product Line Conference (SPLC) is the leading conference on variability and configuration of hardware and software. Researchers, practitioners, and educators present and discuss most recent ideas, trends, experiences, challenges, and solutions to advance the state-of-the-art. SPLC is ranked as a top conference, and in its 24th edition, we aim to continue the success of previous years by inviting high quality submissions for the research track.

Even though SPLC started more than two decades ago with a focus on software product lines, it has become an event for numerous closely related areas, such as configurable systems, product configuration, and software variability. The need for extensive exchange between those areas can be illustrated by the following example: There is a fast growing market for 3D printers. The market demands for advances in hardware and software so frequently that efficient configuration techniques are required for both. At the same time, all stakeholders, including managers, marketers, makers, programmers, and customers, want to explore the configuration space and understand the consequences of their decisions. In the context of mass customization, an interdisciplinary research effort is required that unifies researchers from numerous areas.

As started last year, there will be two best paper awards: the Best Research Paper Award and the Best Student Research Paper Award. Each accepted full paper of the research track is considered for the awards, whereas the latter award is devoted to papers with a PhD student as main author.


Abstract submission: Thursday April 9, 2020 

Paper submission: Thursday April 16, 2020

Notification: Monday June 1st, 2020

Artifact submission: Thursday June 18th, 2020

Artifact notification: Friday July 3rd, 2020

Camera-ready papers: Friday July 17, 2020

Conference: October 19-23, 2020


The following list of topics aims to summarize those areas in more detail, whereas we also invite submissions to related topics. If in doubt, feel free to ask the track chairs (see below).

  • Business process management, economics, and organizational issues of product-line engineering
  • Development process models for variation (e.g., proactive, reactive, extractive, and agile development)
  • Domain analysis, requirements engineering, and feature traceability
  • Variability management and variability modeling (e.g., feature models, decision models)
  • Architecture, design, and visualization of product lines
  • Specification and modeling of product lines (e.g., domain-specific modeling, model-driven engineering, model transformations, generative modeling)
  • Realization and implementation techniques for reuse (e.g., domain-specific languages, modules, components, cloud services, platforms, frameworks, plug-ins, apps, preprocessors, feature toggles, version control systems, variation control systems)
  • Programming languages, model-driven engineering, and domain-specific languages for variation
  • Testing of configurable systems (e.g., product sampling, test-case selection and prioritization, model-based testing, coverage, mutations, debugging, automatic repair, A/B testing)
  • Static quality assurance techniques for product lines (e.g., formal methods, program analysis, model checking, consistency checking, validation, verification)
  • Modeling, analysis, and optimization of non-functional properties (e.g., performance, energy efficiency, interoperability, adaptability, maintainability, dependability, reuse, scalability, reliability)
  • Security, safety, and synthesis of product lines
  • Configuration management and automated deployment
  • Evolution, maintenance, and continuous integration for product lines (e.g., DevOps)
  • Reverse engineering, variability mining, and refactoring of variability (e.g., migration from clone-and-own, design patterns)
  • Multi product lines, software ecosystems, program families, product lines of product lines, systems of systems
  • Knowledge-based and rule-based configuration
  • Configurability for cyber-physical systems and applications to big data
  • (Self-)adaptive systems, reconfigurable systems, and dynamic software product lines
  • Green and sustainable technologies for variation
  • Human and social aspects of product lines (e.g., collaborative modeling and development, cooperative configuration processes, program comprehension)
  • Recommendation systems and artificial intelligence for configurators and feature models (e.g., SAT solvers, BDD, CSP solvers, SMT solvers, answer set programming, explanations)
  • Genetic algorithms, neural networks, and machine learning for product lines
  • Education of product lines and configurators (e.g., teaching, training, dissemination)
  • Methods, tools, and data sets targeting variation
  • Empirical evaluations of all topics above (user studies, case studies, controlled experiments, surveys, rigorous measurements)


The research track is open to submissions in two categories:

  • Full papers describing original results of conceptual, theoretical, empirical, and experimental research. The papers in this category must rely on theoretical or empirical evaluation.
  • Short papers describing emerging ideas and outstanding challenges along with possible approaches for resolving them.

Each submission will be carefully reviewed by at least three members of the research track program committee. The page limit is 12 pages for full papers and 7 pages for short papers, whereas the last two pages may only be used for references. Submissions must follow the 2019 ACM Master Article Template:

Latex users are indicated to use the “sigconf” option, so they are recommended to use the template that can be found in “sample-sigconf.tex”. In this way, the following latex code can be placed at the start of the latex document:


\acmConference[SPLC’20]{24th International Systems and Software Product Line Conference}{19–23 October, 2020}{Montreal, Canada}

Proceedings will be published in the ACM Digital Library. At least one author of each accepted submission must register and attend SPLC 2020 in order for the submission to be published. Submissions need to be sent using EasyChair: the submission link will be available here


Authors of accepted research papers are invited to submit for the evaluation and publication of the artifacts associated with the paper. According to ACM’s “Result and Artifact Review and Badging” policy, an “artifact” is “a digital object that was either created by the authors to be used as part of the study or generated by the experiment itself [… which can include] software systems, scripts used to run experiments, input datasets, raw data collected in the experiment, or scripts used to analyze results.”

Accepted artifacts will receive one of the following badges on the first page of the paper, table of contents, and in the ACM Digital Library:

  • Artifacts Evaluated – Functional: The artifacts are complete, well-documented and allow to obtain the same results as the paper.
  • Artifacts Evaluated – Reusable: As above, but the artifacts are of such a high quality that they can be reused as is on other data sets or for other purposes.

Authors of accepted Research Track papers who want to publish an artifact should submit a PDF via Easychair (select the Research Artifacts track). The PDF should contain a stable URL (or DOI) to the artifacts. The URL must contain the steps or general instructions to execute/analyze the artifact. Each artifact submission will be reviewed by at least two reviewers.

Each accepted research paper associated with an accepted artifact must provide a link to the artifact in their camera ready version of the paper. The authors must ensure that the artifacts are available from a stable URL or DOI. Please note that these badges exclude proprietary data or tools.