December 15 – 19 , 2013, Dagstuhl Seminar 13511

Software Engineering for Self-Adaptive Systems: Assurances


Rogerio de Lemos (University of Kent, GB)
David Garlan (Carnegie Mellon University, US)
Carlo Ghezzi (Polytechnic University of Milan, IT)
Holger Giese (Hasso-Plattner-Institut – Potsdam, DE)

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Repairing faults, or performing upgrades on different kinds of software systems have been tasks traditionally performed as a maintenance activity conducted off-line. However, as software systems become central to support everyday activities and face increasing dependability requirements, even as they have increased levels of complexity and uncertainty in their operational environments, there is a critical need to improve their resilience, optimize their performance, and at the same time, reduce their development and operational costs. This situation has led to the development of systems able to reconfigure their structure and modify their behaviour at run-time in order to improve their operation, recover from failures, and adapt to changes with little or no human intervention. These kinds of systems typically operate using an explicit representation of their own structure, behaviour and goals, and appear in the literature under different designations (e.g., self-adaptive, self-healing, self-managed, self-*, autonomic, etc.).

In spite of recent and important advances in the area, one key aspect of self-adaptive systems that poses important challenges yet to be tackled in depth is assurances: that is, providing evidence that systems satisfy their functional and non-functional requirements during operation. Specifically, assurances involve not only system dependability, but also resilience with respect to changes that may occur in the system, its environment, or its goals. The provision of assurances for self-adaptive systems, which should be done tandem with their development, operation and evolution, is difficult since run-time changes (e.g., resource variability) introduce a high degree of uncertainty that is atypical in more conventional systems.

This Dagstuhl Seminar has focused on the topic of obtaining assurances for self-adaptive software systems. Self-adaptive systems has been studied independently within different research areas of software engineering, including requirements engineering, modelling, architecture and middleware, event-based, component-based and knowledge-based systems, testing, verification and validation, as well as software maintenance and evolution [1,2]. On the other hand, the topic of assurances for software-based systems has been widely investigated by the dependability community, in particular when considered in the context of safety-critical systems. For these types of systems there is the need to build coherent arguments showing that the system is able to comply with strict functional and non-functional requirements, which are often dictated by safety standards and general safety guidelines. The major challenge when combining self-adaptability and dependability is how to obtain assurances regarding the uncertainty of changes that may affect the system, its environment or its goals.


  1. B. H. Cheng, H. Giese, P. Inverardi, J. Magee, and R. de Lemos. 08031 Abstracts Collection - Software Engineering for Self-Adaptive Systems. In B. H. C. Cheng, R. de Lemos, H. Giese, P. Inverardi, and J. Magee, editors, Software Engineering for Self-Adaptive Systems, number 08031 in Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings, Dagstuhl, Germany, 2008. Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, Germany.
  2. R. de Lemos, H. Giese, H. Müller, and M. Shaw. 10431 Report - Software Engineering for Self-Adaptive Systems. In R. de Lemos, H. Giese, H. Müller, and M. Shaw, editors, Software Engineering for Self-Adaptive Systems, number 10431 in Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings, Dagstuhl, Germany, 2011. Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, Germany.
Summary text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 Unported license
  Rogerio de Lemos, David Garlan, Carlo Ghezzi, and Holger Giese

Dagstuhl Seminar Series


  • Modelling / Simulation
  • Software Engineering
  • Verification / Logic


  • Self-adaptive and self-managing software systems
  • Assurances
  • Validation and verification
  • Model checking
  • Run-time verification
  • Proof carrying code
  • Constraint analysers
  • Self-adaptive systems
  • Self-organizing systems
  • Autonomic systems
  • Ultra-large systems


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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