Lionel C. Briand
University of Luxembourg

Keynote Title: Analyzing Natural-Language Requirements: The not-too-sexy and yet curiously difficult research that industry needs

While often complemented by models at various degrees of formality and detail, natural-language requirements remain pervasive across all industry sectors. Decades of research on formal methods and model-based development have not made a noticeable dent in this practice, and I do not expect the situation to change in the foreseeable future. The prevalence of natural-language requirements is largely due to the flexibility and understandability of natural language, especially when stakeholders with diverse backgrounds are involved. External factors, such as laws and regulations, further contribute to the popularity of natural language in requirements specifications.
Despite inherent challenges and drawbacks associated with natural language, it is imperative to provide scalable support for requirements analysts to be able to handle hundreds and sometimes thousands of natural-language statements. A first question here is to understand what type of support the analysts need. This varies across domains or even specific contexts. The examples I will present include checking in a practical manner the conformance of requirements with pre-defined sentence templates, extracting glossary terms and domain models from requirements, analyzing the impact of requirements changes, and deriving system test cases from requirements. I will report on results obtained from research projects in collaboration with industry, and reflect on our experience at the Software Verification and Validation group, SnT Centre, University of Luxembourg.
Providing scalable support for handling natural-language requirements entails, to various degrees, the use of natural-language processing, as well as constraint solving, information retrieval and machine learning. Such research endeavours are therefore fundamentally multidisciplinary. Unfortunately, and probably in part because of such multidisciplinarity, academic research on the management and analysis of natural-language requirements is limited and comparatively dwarfed by the more formal approaches to requirements engineering.


Lionel C. Briand is professor and FNR PEARL chair in software verification and validation at the SnT centre for Security, Reliability, and Trust, University of Luxembourg. He also acts as vice-director of the centre. Lionel started his career as a software engineer in France (CS Communications & Systems) and has conducted applied research in collaboration with industry for more than 20 years.
Until moving to Luxembourg in January 2012, he was heading the Certus center for software verification and validation at Simula Research Laboratory, where he was leading applied research projects in collaboration with industrial partners. Before that, he was on the faculty of the department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where he was full professor and held the Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Software Quality Engineering. He has also been the software quality engineering department head at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering, Germany, and worked as a research scientist for the Software Engineering Laboratory, a consortium of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CSC, and the University of Maryland, USA.
Lionel was elevated to the grade of IEEE Fellow for his work on the testing of object-oriented systems. He was recently granted the IEEE Computer Society Harlan Mills award and the IEEE Reliability Society engineer-of-the-year award for his work on model-based verification and testing. In 2016, he was also the recipient of an ERC Advanced grant from the European Commission. His research interests include: software testing and verification, model-driven software development, search-based software engineering, and empirical software engineering.
Lionel has been on the program, steering, or organization committees of many international, IEEE and ACM conferences. He is the coeditor-in-chief of Empirical Software Engineering (Springer) and is a member of the editorial boards of Systems and Software Modeling (Springer) and Software Testing, Verification, and Reliability (Wiley). More details can be found on:

The Presentation slides can be downloaded.

Inga Wiele

Keynote title: Design Thinking in a Nutshell - 90 Minutes from Idea to Prototype and back

This session will give you a compact overview of Design Thinking including a real life experience with Design Thinking.

Creating products and services that really suit peoples’ lives and needs – that is the goal of Design Thinking. To achieve this goal, you have to observe peoples' lives. Empathy is important to better understand the needs of others. Very often we pass each other without looking or talk without really perceiving what others really feel and what they need. Design Thinking provides a structured approach to innovation processes in which human needs are the focus.

You may think to yourself "Are 90 minutes enough to get an understanding of Design Thinking? How good are the results that you achieve in one hour? Is it possible that all participants have their say and have a constructive outcome in the end?"

This talk will approach this venture with you. Based on the process model of Design Thinking, you experience the different elements of Design Thinking within 90 minutes and learn how much a team can achieve when expectations follow the motto "Done is better than perfect".


Master of Business Administration, Founder, Strategy Consultant and former member of the Supervisory Board of SAP AG

Inga Wiele is founder and managing director of the company gezeitenraum GbR. gezeitenraum (engl. "room of the tides") advises companies that want to actively shape the digital and social change we are currently facing.

She loves working with people and encouraging them to engage in new ways. She manages to identify and promote the different views of the parties within teams. Design Thinking thereby yields the standard for cooperation, providing a structure for companies in complex innovation processes and helping them tap into the hidden potentials of their employees.
By doing so she ignites the spark that drives companies themselves to become active, to anchor new behaviour within the corporate processes and to establish new ways of thinking. She studied business administration at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University in Stuttgart. 25 years’ experience as a software consultant, as product manager at SAP and establishing her own company have taught her to understand contexts quickly and allow her to drive customer-oriented product innovation.

In 2011, Inga was educated as Design Thinking Coach at the of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam. She has 5 years of active project and implementation experience with the Design Thinking approach - 2 years as a product manager at SAP and 3 years as an independent entrepreneur working with companies of different sizes and industries.