Call for Cases

What is this about?

Transformations of structured data such as relational data, abstract syntax trees, graphs and high-level software models are at the heart of a wide range of applications, including but not limited to the development of low-code platforms. Their success heavily depends on the availability of powerful and easy-to-use tools. There is an increasingly large number of transformation tools that follow many different approaches, and this creates challenges for the community at large. Users and tool experts may have missed a recent development in the area, and they may not use the best tool for the job. Tool developers may wish to compare their tool against others, but risk the threat to validity that they may not be using the other tools to their full extent.

The Transformation Tools Contest aims to help users, experts and tool developers to learn about the state-of-the-art through practical case studies. While some of these case studies may revisit well-known transformations, we are always looking for new case studies from the community that look at the bleeding edge in the field or challenge current tools in some way. If you have an interesting transformation problem in hand, or if you know about one, we would like to hear about it! We mention some specific areas that we consider relevant to TTC in our aims and scope page.

Authors of cases are asked to facilitate a thorough comparison of state-of-the-art transformation tool features for solving a particular problem with the aim of submitting a journal article with qualifying solutions to one of the following journals after the workshop:

More information about what to consider in a case can be found below.

Case submission

By April 14th 2023, please submit your case description in PDF format through EasyChair. A previous expression of interest is not a requirement to submit a case but we encourage authors of cases to contact the TTC organizers early. The case description should include a URL to a source code repository (e.g. GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab) that contains a reference solution and an evaluation methodology, and a basic issue tracker that solution authors may use to ask questions about the case study. For the evaluation methodology, you are welcome to draw from past case studies. If you have an idea for a case study but do not know where to start or which previous case to base it on, feel free to start a discussion with us at ttc23 AT easychair DOT org.

The case description should be in the ACM acmart LaTeX document class (see here and here), using the "sigconf" style and with the "review" option enabled, and not exceeding 10 pages (excluding references and appendices).

The description should answer these questions:

  • What is the context of the case?
  • What is the subject to be modeled?
  • What is the purpose of the subject?
  • What are the variation points in the case?
  • Are there any specific research questions you would like to answer through the participation of the community? What is the novel aspect of the problem that has not been published earlier?
  • What are the criteria for evaluating the submitted solutions to the case? These criteria should include pointers to the sections to be included in the short paper describing the solution.
  • What should be the prizes for the case? Usually, there may be one or more "Best X" (where X is a desired attribute), and then a "Best Overall" solution with the best balance between all attributes.
  • Correctness test: which are the reference input/ouput documents and how should they be used? Ideally, a case description includes a test suite, as well as a test driver. The test driver can be an online web service, or a Docker image on Docker Hub. You can reuse frameworks from past case studies - feel free to ask us!
  • Which transformation tool-related features are important and how can they be classified? (e.g., formal analysis of the transformation program, rule debugging support, ...)
  • What transformation language-related challenges are important and how can they be classified? (e.g., declarative bidirectionality, declarative change propagation, declarative subgraph copying, cyclic graph support, typing issues, ...)
  • How to measure the quality of submitted solutions, at the design level? (e.g., measure the number of rules, the conciseness of rules, ...)
  • How can the solutions be evaluated (ranked) systematically?
  • Building on the above, define threshold criteria for solutions to be eligible in the journal article so that PC members can objectively refer qualifying solutions.

Subsequent Phases

Phase 2: Case evaluation. Members of the steering committee comment on cases according to the following survey:

  1. Choose the journal (SoSyM, STTT or JOT) that you think fits best this case and briefly justify your view. Is the case within the scope of the journal? Is the problem statement interesting for the audience of the selected journal? (normally up to 100 words)
  2. In the questions below, please highlight strengths, potential flaws and constructive ways to improve each aspect:
    1. Please comment on the significance of the problem statement. Are the research questions addressing aspects that are novel and relevant, paving the way either for exploring insights into a new problem or for learning new knowledge about an existing problem? Is the case building on state-of-the art literature in that topic? If not, please suggest relevant references that should be considered. (normally up to 200 words, excluding references)
    2. Please comment on the appropriateness of the evaluation methodology. Does the proposed methodology enable a valid, reliable evaluation of solutions? Please consider the questions below for further guidance. (normally up to 200 words)
      • RE reliability, is the methodology likely to lead to consistent or repeatable measurements?
      • RE validity, is the methodology assessing relevant characteristics of the problem statement (content validity)? To which extent does it help study a trustworthy causal relationship between research questions and measurements (internal validity)? How well does it enable generalizable findings (external validity)?

This feedback is passed on to case authors to improve the case with the assistance of the organization committee.

Phase 3: Call for solutions. All those who like to participate in the contest will be asked to choose one or more case studies, take their favorite transformation tool and submit their solutions. A separate call for solutions will be distributed, after the cases have been selected. A solution consists both of a technical short paper describing the solution and of accompanying software artifacts in a Git repository (usually a clone of the repository provided for the case). For a solution to be eligible for an award, it must not contain any member of either the Organization Committee or the Steering Committee. However, members of the Organization Committee and of the Steering Committee are welcome to contribute solutions, which will undergo the rest of the contest stages below together with the other solutions.

Phase 4: Open peer review. The solution reviewing before the workshop will be done by other solution submitters. All solution submitters have to review three other solutions to the case that they have addressed. These reviews will not be anonymous, since these reviewers ideally will also be the opponents at the workshop. The purpose of the peer reviewing is that the participants get as much insight into the competitor's solutions as possible and also to raise potential problems. Case submitters should be available at this stage to resolve conflicting interpretations (if any) about the case description.

Phase 5: Contest. The solutions submitted for each case will be presented by their proponents. Case submitters should have evaluated independently the various presented solutions according to the spreadsheet, and should be present during the break to discuss the final awards to be given. For more details (such as example cases and solutions from previous editions), please consult the other sections of the TTC website.

Phase 6: Post-proceedings. Solution proponents improve the short paper with the feedback received during the workshop. Such papers will be reviewed by programme committee members selecting which solutions are eligible for the journal article of each case, according to the corresponding eligilibility criteria. All papers, including cases and solutions, will appear in the post-proceedings.

Phase 7: Journal article. Case authors prepare journal articles with eligible solutions.