21.04.14 - 24.04.14, Seminar 14172

Unifying Product and Software Configuration

The following text appeared on our web pages prior to the seminar, and was included as part of the invitation.


In many markets today, customers no longer consider customization as special: they expect it. This expectation applies both to simple goods like t-shirts and to more sophisticated products composed of heterogeneous hardware, software and services. Yet, the complexity in engineering and manufacturing of deeply configurable products varies significantly. Numerous sectors, such as automotive, semiconductors, and cloud services, lack tools and methods to keep their hardware and software configurations consistent during configuration and evolution. Ad hoc solutions frequently patch isolated problems, but fail to effectively improve overall key performance indicators such as availability, reliability and time-to-market. Integrated solutions to align software, hardware and service configuration are missing.

Research in configuration is currently carried out in two main communities: (hardware) product configuration and software configuration. Despite the significant overlap in research interests, they have evolved mainly in isolation. Yet, similar challenges and solutions have emerged in both communities. The potential for synergies has reached a critical level.

These observations motivate our first goal to unify results in product and software configuration produced by research and industry into a consolidated strand. Our second goal is to gather this knowledge on a dedicated online portal and structure it along three dimensions: resources for practitioners, resources for scientists, and practical cases.

To make a first step toward those goals, the seminar will seek to answer four key questions:

  • What classes of configuration problems exist?
  • How are these problems modeled?
  • What automated tasks are supported?
  • How are these automated tasks implemented?

To answer those questions, we bring together industry experts and researchers in four sessions. Each session will be split into three parts: invited position statements, group discussions, and group discussion consolidation. These sessions aim at being as interactive as possible to foster exchanges of experience and knowledge among the participants. The outcome of these discussions will be assembled in a compendium available to the participants and public after the seminar.

Industry experts attending the seminar are practitioners and tool vendors selected for their extended experience in product configuration. Researchers have been selected for their proven record of expertise in product configuration and software configuration and their influential theoretical and practical contributions to knowledge representation, automated reasoning, and constraint solving.

We would be honored to count you among the participants of the first Dagstuhl seminar on the unification of software and product configuration.