Most Influential Paper Award for
Software Product Lines
Call for Nominations

The Software Product Line (SPL) Conference is establishing a Most Influential Paper (MIP) award to recognize significant research contributions to SPLs over the last 20 years. Nominations are sought and will be reviewed by a committee of past 3-years of SPLC PC chairs.  A nominated paper:
  1. Should have been published in the last 10-20 year window.
  2. The title, author(s), and publication venue (conference, journal) of the paper should be included in a nomination, along with the description of the work (250-500 words in length) and why particular attention to its contributions merits the award.  Citations alone are not sufficient.  Supporting letters from a list of 3 or more endorsers, their names and institutions should be enclosed.  An example nomination letter is below.
  3. A nominated paper could have appeared in any conference or journal venue, not just SPL Conference.
  4. Authors of nominated papers, if they are on the Award Committee, will not be considered until the author(s) rotate off the committee; the nomination is time-stamped by its submission date, not when the nomination becomes active.
We anticipate that there will be an MIP Award given every year, perhaps for the exception of this year because of timing.  (In which case, we hope to give two awards next year). Award winners will be contacted at least 3 months in advance of the Conference. It is also intended that a stipend will be given to the authors of an awarded paper for one or more of them to receive the award and to give a presentation at the conference.

Current Nominations. Set of nominations received to date is here.

Nominations are now being received.  Nominations should be sent to, which is a mailing alias to all committee members. Nominations are active for up to 4 years upon receipt and would need to be resubmitted upon nomination expiration.

All participants, endorses and the Award Committee, will observe ACM's Guidelines on Conflict of Interest.

This announcement is temporarily posted here; when it is moved a redirection link will be posted.

Don Batory, University of Texas at Austin (Chair)
Stefania Gnesi, ISTI-CNR, Italy
Rick Rabiser, Johannes Kepler University
David Benavides, University of Seville

Example Nominating Letter

Is approximately one page, providing an overview and reasons for an MIP award.  Presumably the letter would be a bit more detailed than the sketch below on impact.

We the undersigned nominate the paper "Mass Produced Software Components" by Doug McIlroy, presented at the NATO Software Engineering of 1968.  McIlroy's visionary paper predates software product lines as a research area, but captures the essence of what SPLs have become -- the ability to declaratively specify programs from predefined lists of optionally selectable properties or characteristics, many would now call 'features'.

The paper itself sketches the foundation of future areas of research: product lines, software components, the software component industry, software reuse, and even parameterized modularity. 
McIlroy's work predates Dijkstra's 1970 work on Structured Programming (where program families was briefly mentioned) and Parna's "On the design and Development of Program Families" paper of March 1976. It predates Goguen's early 1980s work that formalized parameterized programming as a foundation for formal models of program variability. Now, all of the previously mentioned pioneers have made fundamental contributions of their own to SPLs, but in McIlroy's paper we see the outlines of these important future research topics.

As, further significance, McIlroy's paper was seminal to Software Reuse Community (circa 1990s), which offered the first regularly-held conference series in which Software Product Lines (although not yet named as such) were routinely explored and the significance of SPLs became widely evident.  At the SPLC-2015 conference in Nashville, Linda Northrup, a co-founder of the SPL Conference series, cited work on SPLs in the Reuse Conference that gave birth to SPLC Series.

The above is a brief summary of our position on this paper.  Below we list brief paragraphs that provide individual points of justification of this paper's significance.
Individual confirmation on this joint nomination will be sent, by email, from each of us below.


XY, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Univeristy of Pennsylvania
QR, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Nebraska
ST, Program Director, Tata Consultancy
ZW, Assistant Professor, School of Computer Sciences, UC Irvine

Further, from each endorser, there should be a PDF on institution letter head or email coming directly from the endorser, confirming (in 1 sentence) their support from this petition.