News Archive

Early Career Fellowship for Dr Justyna Petke

28 February, 2017

Congratulations to Dr Justyna Petke who has been awarded an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship to advance her pioneering research on genetic improvement of software systems.


Bug-finding MaJiCKe finds a home at Facebook

19 January, 2017

The CREST team behind spinout software testing technology MaJiCKe are moving on to work with Facebook in London. The technology uses the academic field of Search Based Software Engineering to remove ‘much of the drudgery’ of testing software, while still finding bugs.

The company’s three co-founders are Prof Mark Harman (Scientific Advisor), Dr Yue Jia (CEO), and Ke Mao (CTO).

You can read more about the project here.


Most updates to mobile apps don’t make a noticeable difference

17 November, 2016

Research by William Martin, Dr Federica Sarro and Prof Mark Harman finds that most updates to mobile apps don’t make a noticeable difference. To read more please click here.

The research paper is available here.


Best paper award at SSBSE 2016

17 October, 2016

Congratulations to Fan Wu for winning best research paper award at SSBSE 2016 which was held in Raleigh North Carolina, USA. His paper HOMI: Searching Higher Order Mutants For Software Improvement was written with Mark Harman, Yue Jia and Jens Krinke.


CREST success at GECCO Human Competitive Awards (HUMIES)

26 July, 2016

Many congratulations to Alex Marginean who received gold for his work on Automated Transplantation, with Earl Barr, Justyna Petke, Yue Jia and Mark Harman. And Federica Sarro picked up the Bronze for her work on Multi Objective Effort Estimation with Alessio Petrezziello and Mark Harman.


This work is funded by the EPSRC DAASE Programme Grant on Dynamic Adaptive Automated Software Engineering and UCL Department of Computer Science.


CREST End of Year Review - 2nd December 2015

10 December, 2015

On the 2nd of December past and present members of CREST came together at UCL to enjoy an afternoon of talks followed by a festive dinner to celebrate a successful year at the centre.

The talks were given by:

Federica Sarro - How to Make Best Use of Cross-Company Data for Web Effort Estimation?

Alex Marginean - Automated Software Transplantation

Yuanyuan Zhang - Inferring Test Models from Kate's Bug Reports using Multi-objective Search 

Justyna Petke – Constraints: the Future of Combinatorial Interaction Testing & Genetic Improvement of Software




Celebration lunch for Dr W Langdon

29 September, 2015

CREST members took Bill Langdon, principal research associate for lunch to recognise and celebrate the impact on the research community of the paper in IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, entitled "Optimising Existing Software with Genetic Programming". The paper is available here:



Success from FSE and SSBSE 2015

29 September, 2015

Dr. W.B. Langdon gave an keynote at FSE on Genetic Improvement of Software concentrating particularly on recent successes of the EPSRC's GISMO project, which was well recieved, particularly by the conference's industrial sponsors.

Professor Mark Harman gave his keynote on the first day of the DeMobile workshop which took place over two days of the FSE conference. 

Yuanyuan Zhang won the Challenge Track Award at SSBSE for the joint work with Mark Harman, Yue Jia and Federica Sarro. This is work is about inferring test models from Kate's bug reports using multi-objective search. This approach aims to infer models from user bug reports written in natural language instead of using system logs. The models inferred are well-balanced between the amount of over- and under-approximation of user behaviour and also keep the size small. 

Yi Bian who is visiting CREST this year from Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China was awarded the Best SSBSE Paper based on actual industry data for his paper Epistatic Genetic Algorithm for Test Case Prioritization.  


Dr Langdon presenting at FSE 2015


Automated Software Transplantation

26 August, 2015

Code has been automatically "transplanted" from one piece of software to another for the first time. The process, demonstrated by researchers in CREST has been likened to organ transplantation in humans. Known as MuScalpel, it works by isolating the code of a useful feature in a 'donor' program and transplanting this "organ" to the right "vein" in software lacking the feature. Almost all of the transplant is automated, with minimal human involvement.

Automated transplants of features between apps could free human programmers from tedious, manual work and make developing software faster and cheaper.

"As any programmer will attest, a large amount of programming work consists of this kind of manual transplantation work; redesigning, implementing and reinventing functionality that already exists in some form on some other system." Mark Harman, head of Software Systems Engineering told "By automating it, we make it much faster and cheaper."

To demonstrate the system, Harman's team successfully transplanted a video coding format from one media player to another. The H.264 codec, which used to be lacking in VLC media player, was transplanted from x264. It took the automated system 26 hours to complete the transplant, while VLC's manual addition of the code happened over a period of 20 days. The system could be used to transplant anything from automatic save features to social media integration, video chat, spellcheckers and even video and audio processing.

At present it only works on the C programming language, but there is nothing to stop it being applied to others. Eventually it may even be possible to transplant features between languages and platforms with no human involvement whatsoever.

The team has published a paper detailing how MuScalpel works, along with the software's source code, in the hope that more developers will get involved. The paper was given the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award this year.

The research team behind MuScalpel is pictured, from left to right, Bill Langdon, Mark Harman, Alex Marginean, Justyna Petke, Earl Barr, Yue Jia.

Read the complete story on Wired's news pages.

And listen to Mark Harman discuss Automated Software Transplantation on the BBC Radio programme Click here starting at 13:20



2015 conference success

06 August, 2015

CREST members have been submitting their papers to conferences this year. Their hard work has paid off with many acceptances and awards:

Justyna Petke was awarded the best presentation award at the 8th Workshop on Search Based Software Testing at ICSE in Florence

Well done to Earl Barr who has had two papers accepted for ESEC/FSE 2015:

  • Is the Cure Worse than the Disease? A Large-Scale Analysis of Overfitting in Automated Program Repair by Edward K. Smith, Earl Barr, Claire Le Goues and Yuriy Brun
  • Suggesting Accurate Method and Class Names by Miltiadis Allamanis, Earl Barr, Christian Bird and Charles Sutton

Alex Marginean received the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at ISSTA in Baltimore, USA for his transplantation work :

  • Earl T. Barr, Mark Harman, Yue Jia, Alexandru Marginean and Justyna Petke: Automated Software Transplantation.

7 papers by CREST authors and our visitors were accepted to SSBSE . The papers were all accepted for the challenge track.

Well done to the lead authors Alex Marginean, Justyna Petke, Matheus Piaxao, Lingbo Li, Yi Bian, Yuanyuan Zhang, Yue Jia and their co-authors Bill Langdon, Earl Barr, Fan Wu and Federica Sarro and Mark Harman


2016 conference programme chairs

06 August, 2015

We are proud to announce that two of our members have been selected to be programme chairs at conferences in 2016: 

Federica Sarro has been selected to be the Program co-chair for the 8th International Symposium on Search-Based Software Engineering in North Carolina, USA

Justyna Petke has been elected by the ICSE steering committee to be the program chair for the 9th Workshop on Search Based Software Testing, in Texas, USA

Well done!


Congratulations Earl!

06 August, 2015

Congratulations to Earl Barr who has been promoted to Senior Lecturer!


Mark Harman Keynote and CREST members win best paper at ICST

08 May, 2015

Mark Harman gave a keynote at ICST 2015, the 8th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, 13th - 17th April 2015 in Graz, Austria.


"Mutation Testing of Memory-Related Operators" by Fan Wu, Jay Nanavati, Mark HarmanJens Krinke and Yue Jia has won the best paper prize at The 10th International Workshop on Mutation Analysis.




Federica Sarro gives keynote at SQAMIA 2014

02 October, 2014

Federica Sarro gave a keynote on Search Based Software Engineering for Software Fault Prediction at the 3rd Workshop on Software Quality Analysis, Monitoring, Improvement and Applications (SQAMIA 2014). The talk presented the major challenges in software fault prediction and suggested how search-based software engineering can be exploited to tackle them. It also outlined directions for future work to automatically tailor fault prediction models to a given software context.


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This page was last modified on 02 Dec 2011.
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