Sebastiano Panichella, Dr.

Presentation  - ICSE 2017
  Senior Research Associate
University of Zurich
Department of Informatics
Binzmühlestrasse 14
CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland
Contact Information:
Tel: +41 44 63 545 83
Office BIN 2.D.03

Biographical Sketch

Sebastiano Panichella was born in Isernia (Italy), he received (cum laude) the Laurea in Computer Science from the University of Salerno (Italy) in 2010 defending a thesis on IR-based Traceability Recovery.

He received the PhD in Computer Science from the University of Sannio (Department of Engineering) in 2014 defending the thesis entitled ''Supporting Newcomers in Open Source Software Development Projects'' (PDF) .

His research interests are in the domain of Software Engineering (SE). In particular, during his bachelor, master and doctoral studies, he  had the opportunity to explore a wide range of research topics in SE such as IR-based Traceability Recovery, Mining Software Repositories (MSR),  Software maintenance and evolution and Empirical Software Engineering.

Currently Sebastiano Panichella is a Research Associate at University of Zurich working in the Software Evolution and Architecture Lab of Prof. Harald Gall. During the  experience as postdoc in the SEAL group he  investigated further  SE research fields  such as Mobile ComputingContinuous Delivery and Continuous integration, and the  new line of research related to the use of Summarization Techniques for Code, Changes and Testing. Currently he is mainly working on the interesting research problems that are collocated in the intersection of  the following SE topics: Continuous Delivery,  Continuous integration, Software maintenance and evolution, Mobile Computing, Summarization Techniques for Code, Changes and Testing.  Another topic that is also of his interest is Code Review,  indeed, he is currently working and advising students on research ideas aimed at automating the process of code inspection. He is a member of IEEE. He is author or co-author of 42 (considering also demos, datasets and poster) papers app eared in International Conferences and Journals (24 of them published during the experience at the SEAL lab). In summary he published in high-ranked, peer-reviewed (according to the, and international venues (where he alsoreceived best and distinguished paper awards). Specifically, he published, considering the conference venues, 6 papers at ICSE (RANK: A*), 3 at FSE (RANK: A*), 6 at ICSME (RANK: A), 2 at ASE (RANK: A), 1 at GECCO (RANK: A), 5 at SANER, 1 at WCRE (RANK: B), 6 at ICPC (RANK: C). He also published papers at workshop like WAMA (1) and MaLTeSQuE (1). He also published in top journals such as EMSE (2), IST (1), STVR (1) and JSEP (1). A description of  his contribution on each of these work (with a detailed description on top 5 representative papers) is available in. He is currently Editorial Board Member of  Journal of Software: evolution and process (JSEP). For more information have a look on his CV (long version of the CV is available at  a short version of it at )

His research is funded by two Swiss National Science Foundation Grants

Preferred Quotes:

- I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. (Albert Einstein) 
- You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself. (Galileo Galilei)


He mainly works with
- Carol V. Alexandru (University of Zurich, PhD student, Whiteboard);
- Adelina Ciurumelea (University of Zurich, PhD student, SURF-MobileAppsData);

Giovanni Grano (University of Zurich, PhD student, SURF-MobileAppsData);
- Andrea Di Sorbo (University of Sannio, PhD student);

- Carmine Vassallo (University of Zurich, PhD student, SURF-MobileAppsData);

Open Bachelor and Master's Theses

He mainly advises theses in the area of Mining Software Repositories. There are theses available (for both bachelor and master degree) on topics related to his research activities. It is suggested to contact him directly (by e-mail), or, if you want, to have a look at his recent publications on the various topics. In particular, there are available theses on the following topics:

1) Mobile and Automated Testing 

2) Continuos Delivery and Continuos Integration

Continuous Integration (CI) consists in a specific stage of CD process where team members integrate their work in an automatic manner, which allows a fast building, testing, and releasing of software, leading to multiple integrations per day. A thesis in this topic will have as main focus the development of recommender systems able to provide suggestions to developers and testers during Continuous Integration activities. 

3) Mining software repositories

- Define a Feedback Mechanisms able to help  developers digest the huge amount of feedback they receive from users on a daily basis, transforming user reviews into maintenance tasks (fixing issues or building features). For more information read the recent papers accepted "How Can I Improve My App? Classifying User Reviews for Software Maintenance and Evolution", "What Would Users Change in My App? Summarizing App Reviews for Recommending Software Changes", "Analyzing Reviews and Code of Mobile Apps for better Release Planning", "Recommending and Localizing Change Requests for Mobile Apps based on User Reviews" and the related tools called ARdoc and SURF.

- Develop recommender systems able to (better) support developers during the code review process. For more information read the recent paper accepted "Would Static Analysis Tools Help Developers with Code Reviews?".

- Development recommender systems based on Source Code Summarization and Code Change Summarization techniques able to support developers during development or maintenance activities. For more information read the recent paper accepted at ICSE 2016 entitled "The impact of test case summaries on bug fixing performance: An empirical investigation". The slides of my lecture of the course Software Maintenance and Evolution describe the concepts of Source Code Summarization and Code Change Summarization.

- Develop search-based approaches to better predict change and defect prone classes. For more information read the recent paper accepted at GECCO 2016 entitled "A Search-based Training Algorithm for Cost-aware Defect Prediction".

- Automatic redocumentation of existing systems by mining software repositories. For more information have a look at the papers accepted "Mining source code descriptions from developer communications" and "CODES: mining sourCe cOde Descriptions from developErs diScussions".

- Automatic identification of skills and teamwork in software projects by mining software repositories For more information have a look at the paper accepted "Supporting Newcomers in Software Development Projects and the list of recent publications.

- Development of recommender systems, i.e., of systems able to provide suggestions to developers and managers during development or maintenance activities. For more information have a look at the paper accepted "Development Emails Content Analyzer: Intention Mining in Developer Discussions", "Analyzing APIs Documentation and Code to Detect Directive Defects" and the related tool called DECA.



Paper accepted at SANER 2018: "BECLoMA: Augmenting Stack Traces with User Review Information"

Paper accepted at MaLTeSQuE 2018: "How High Will It Be? Using Machine Learning Mo dels to Predict Branch Coverage in Automated Testing"

Keynote speaker at VST 2018 (co-located to SANER 2018)

Editor of two Special Issues at EMSE and IST journals

Paper accepted at SANER 2018: "Exploring the Integration of User Feedback in Automated Testing of Android Applications"

Paper accepted at SANER 2018: "Context Is King: The Developer Perspective on the Usage of Static Analysis Tools"

PC member of ICSE-SRC 2018, SBST 2018, MSR 2018 and SANER 2018

Co-organizer of the CHOOSE-forum 2017 (

Paper accepted at WAMA 2017: "Android Apps and User Feedback: a Dataset for Software Evolution and Quality Improvement"

Distinguished Reviewer Award SATToSE 2017

Paper accepted at ICSME 2017: "A Tale of CI Build Failures: an Open Source and a Financial Organization Perspective"

Paper accepted at ICPC 2017: "Replicating Parser Behavior using Neural Machine Translation"

Paper accepted at ICSE 2017: "Recommending and Localizing Change Requests for Mobile Apps based on User Reviews"

Paper accepted at ICSE 2017: "Analyzing APIs Documentation and Code to Detect Directive Defects"

Paper accepted at ICSE 2017: "SURF: Summarizer of User Reviews Feedback"

Expert Review Panel Member  of ASE 2017

Editorial Board Member of Journal of Software: evolution and process (period 2017-2019)

Project SNF accepted (2016) called " SURF-MobileAppsData "