CS 520: Theory and Practice of Software Engineering

Fall 2018

News | Description | Logistics | Grading | Schedule | Nondiscrimination | Academic integrity | Reading | Prerequisites | Acknowledgements



CS 520 introduces students to the principal activities and state-of-the-art techniques involved in developing high-quality software systems. Topics include: requirements analysis, formal specification methods, software design, software testing and debugging, program analysis, and automated software engineering.

This course will cover the following high-level topics:

Besides becoming familiar with Software Engineering principles and best practices, students will learn about cutting-edge research in Software Engineering, Security, and Human-Computer Interaction. The exercises and the group project provide additional hands-on experience in using state-of-the-art techniques.


Room:Integrated Sciences Building, room 221
Lecture:Tuesday and Thursday 10:00AM–11:15AM

Yuriy Brun
office: 302 computer science building
office hours: Tuesday 11:15PM–12:00PM

Manish Motwani
office: CS 207 (cube 4)
office hours: Thursday 1:00PM–2:00PM

All assignment submissions are through Moodle.

Late policy: Assignment due dates and times are listed on the schedule. All deadlines are sharp and the submission site will be closed at the specified time. No extensions will be granted after the assignment is due. Early requests for extensions will be considered only in extenuating circumstances. No more than one extension will be granted per student.


Students are responsible for submitting all homework and project assignments. A student who fails to submit at least one of the homework or project assignments, or does not participate in the midterm, will receive the grade F for the entire class.

 Assignment Grade
Homework 20%
In-class exercises 40%
Class project 30%
Participation 10%


(subject to change; check regularly)

week date day topic homework
Week 1
Sep 4 Tu Course introduction
Sep 6 Th Software architecture and design
Week 2
Sep 11 Tu Best and worst programming practices
Sep 13 Th Object oriented design principles | code
Week 3
Sep 18 Tu Version control systems
Sep 20 Th In-class exercise: Advanced uses of git. Due Sep 25.
Project topic selection
due: Tu Oct 9, 2018, 9:00AM EDT
Week 4
Sep 25 Tu Object oriented design patterns
Sep 27 Th Collaboration and pair programming
Homework 1
Due: Tu October 16, 2018, 9:00AM EDT
Week 5
Oct 2 Tu Fairness testing
Oct 4 Th Guest lecture: Helena: A Web Automation Language for End Users
Week 6
Oct 9 Tu no class -- Monday schedule
Oct 11 Th Software testing
Final project mid-date report
Due: Tu Nov 13, 2018, 9:00AM EST
Week 7
Oct 16 Tu Collaborative specification 1
Oct 18 Th Collaborative specification 2
Week 8
Oct 23 Tu In-class exercise: Software testing. Due Oct 25.
Oct 25 Th A day in the life of a software engineer (guest lecture from industry)
Homework 2
Due: Th November 15, 2018, 9:00AM EST
Week 9
Oct 29 Mo Personalized Behavior-Powered Systems for Guiding Self-Experiments
Oct 30 Tu Debugging
Nov 1 Th In-class exercise: Debugging. Due Nov 8.
Week 10
Nov 6 Tu no class — project focus week
Nov 8 Th no class — project focus week
Week 11
Nov 13 Tu Final project mid-date report.
Presentation schedule.
Nov 14 We How We Create a More Empathetic and Helpful Online Community
Final project completion
Due: Tu Dec 11, 2018, 11:55PM EST
Nov 15 Th User interfaces
Week 12
Thanksgiving break: no class
Week 13
Nov 27 Tu In-class exercise: Reasoning about mutants. Due Nov 29. slides
Nov 29 Th Reasoning about programs
Week 14
Dec 4 Tu Reliability and Privacy
Dec 6 Th Power of software
Week 15
Dec 11 Tu Final project presentations

Nondiscrimination policy:

Software engineering is at its nature a collaborative activity and it benefits greatly from diversity. This class includes and welcomes all students regardless of age, background, citizenship, disability, sex, education, ethnicity, family status, gender, gender identity, geographical origin, language, military experience, political views, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and work experience. Our discussions and learning will benefit from these and other diverse points of view. Any kind of language or action displaying bias against or discriminating against members of any group, or making members of any group uncomfortable are against the mission of this course and will not be tolerated. The instructor welcomes discussion of this policy, and encourages anyone experiencing concerns to speak with him.

Academic integrity:

Students are allowed to work together on all aspects of this class. However, for the homework assignments, each student must submit his or her own write up, clearly stating the collaborators. Your submission must be your own. When in doubt, contact the instructors about whether a potential action would be considered plagiarism. If you discuss material with anyone besides the class staff, acknowledge your collaborators in your write-up. If you obtain a key insight with help (e.g., through library work or a friend), acknowledge your source and write up the summary on your own. It is the student's responsibility to remove any possibility of someone else's work from being misconstrued as the student's. Never misrepresent someone else's work as your own. It must be absolutely clear what material is your original work. Plagiarism and other anti-intellectual behavior will be dealt with severely. Note that facilitation of plagiarism (giving your work to someone else) is also considered to be plagiarism, and will carry the same repercussions.

Students are encouraged to use the Internet, literature, and other publicly-available resources, except the homework solutions and test (including quizzes, midterms, finals, and other exams) solutions, from past terms' versions of this course and other academic courses, whether at UMass and at other institutions. To reiterate, the students are not allowed to view and use past homework and test solutions, unless explicitly distributed by the COMPCSI 520 staff as study material.

Whenever students use Internet, literature, and other publicly-available resources, they must clearly reference the materials in their write ups, attributing proper credit. This cannot be emphasized enough: attribute proper credit to your sources. Failure to do so will result in a zero grade for the assignment and possibly a failing grade for the class, at the instructor's discretion. Copying directly from resources is not permitted, unless the copying is clearly identified as a quote from a source. Most use of references should be written in the words of the student, placing the related work in proper context and describing the relevant comparison.

The students should familiarize themselves with the UMass Academic Honesty Policy and Guidelines for Classroom Civility and Respect. These policies and guidelines apply to this class.

Students who violate University standards of academic integrity are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including failure in the course and suspension from the university. Since dishonesty in any form harms the individual, other students, and the university, policies on academic integrity have been and will be strictly enforced.


The following text books provide a more comprehensive discussion of the topics addressed in this class. Note that these text books are not a requirement for this class.


Students should have taken an intermediate course in software engineering and have built, in a team, a software system of roughly 10,000 lines of code or more. Students are expected to be familiar with an object oriented programming language, such as Java or C++. The ability to use linux and download and use off-the-shelf tools are expected.


Various materials used in this course have greatly benefited from materials developed by Rene Just, Michael Ernst, David Notkin, Alex Orso, and Lee Osterweil. Thank you.