Call for Papers: Special Issue on Software Engineering Automation: A Natural Language Perspective (NLP-SEA)


The contemporary economies and their GDP’s are heavily reliant on the up-to-date computer-based systems both in terms of operations to manufacture a product as well as in forming it as a viable commodity. The rapid growth in the technological development paradigms has led to numerous challenges to software development engineers, ranging from micro technological challenges to human-machine communication in industry 4.0. Emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the epic center of computational research in last decade has helped researchers to come up with optimal solutions. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is not an exception in this context, as it mainly relies on the approximation and optimization. With the emergence of industry 4.0, the application of NLP has now widened to all phases of system development life cycle from requirements to maintenance and from planning to continuous improvement. This widening of scope for NLP has led to extended and improved development and application of NLP tools for automatic extraction of information from different documents, identification of functional and non-functional requirements, and test suites etc. With the swift progressions in machine learning and artificial intelligence, use of natural language-based techniques and methodologies for software engineering are introduced and further optimized for greater efficiency in software engineers, processes and the product. From requirements to test cases, and from architecture to documentation, the natural language artifacts and tools are now being employed. 

The Special issue on Software Engineering Automation: A Natural Language Perspective (NLP-SEA) is an initiative to consider above mentioned considerations and challenges. The focus of this special issue is to provide an opportunity for the researchers and practitioners in academia and industry to provide a diverse, but complementary set of contributions on every aspect related to application of NLP in automated software and system engineering domain. The list of topics is as follows, but not limited to:

  • Combining natural language and AI for automation of SE
  • Leveraging natural language processing in requirements Engineering
  • Technical debt identification using NLP
  • NLP based software architecture knowledge extraction 
  • Software faults detection improvement using NLP
  • NLP based models for software artifacts’ quality evaluation
  • NLP based computer assisted coding
  • NLP assisted Software Debugging and Testing
  • Application of NLP to Program Analysis
  • Application of NLP to Software Documentation & Summarization
  • Application of NLP in Software Maintenance
  • Application of NLP to Software Optimization
  • Application of NLP in Program comprehension
  • Advancement in technologies of NLP for SE
  • NLP-based Tools for software engineering
  • NLP and Software Traceability
  • NLP in Quality Assessment and Improvement
  • NLP and Software Reverse Engineering
  • Mining Natural Language Data from Software Artifacts
  • Current Issues in Software Engineering for Natural Language Processing

Important Dates:

Submission deadline: November 30
First notification: February 28
Revision submission: April 30
Notification of acceptance: May 30

Submission Guidelines:

Authors should prepare their manuscript according to the Submission Guidelines and submit here. Please select “SI: Software Engineering Automation: A Natural Language Perspective” in the submission system. All the papers will be peer-reviewed following the Automated Software Engineering reviewing procedures. Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere. If the submission is an extended work of a previously published conference /workshop paper, you must submit a cover letter/document detailing (1) the "Summary of Differences" between the Conference/workshop paper and extended version paper, (2) a clear list of "new and original" ideas/contributions in the extended version paper (identifying sections where they are proposed/presented), (3) confirmation of the percentage of new material (at least 30%), and (4) the original conference paper. 

Guest Editors:

Sajid Anwar, PhD
Corresponding Guest Editor
Associate Professor
Center for Excellence in Information Technology
Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan /
Associate Editor
Expert Systems Journal, Wiley

Mehrdad Saadatmand, PhD
Senior Researcher
RISE-Research Institute of Sweden in Vasteras, Sweden

Abdul Rauf, PhD
ERCIM Postdoc Fellow
RISE-Research Institute of Sweden in Vasteras, Sweden

Guest Editor Bios

Dr. Sajid Anwar is an Associate Professor at the Center of Excellence in Information Technology Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences), Peshawar, Pakistan. He received his MS (Computer Science, 2007) and Ph.D degrees (Software Engineering, 2011) from NUCES-FAST, Islamabad. Previously, he was head of Undergraduate Program in Software Engineering at IMSciences.

Dr. Sajid Anwar is leading expert in Software architecture engineering and Software maintenance prediction. His research interests are cross-disciplinary & industry focused and includes: Search based Software Engineering; Prudent based Expert Systems; Customer Analytics, Active Learning and applying Data Mining and Machine Learning techniques to solve real world problems. Dr. Sajid Anwar is Associate editor of Expert Systems Journal Wiley. He has been a Guest Editor of numerous journals, such as Neural Computing and Applications, Cluster Computing Journal Springer, Grid Computing Journal Springer, Expert Systems Journal Wiley, Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies Wiley, and Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory Journal Springer. He is also Member Board Committee Institute of Creative Advanced Technologies, Science and Engineering, Korea ( He has supervised to completion many MS research students. He has conducted and led collaborative research with Govt. organizations and academia and has published over 45 research articles in prestigious conferences and journals.

Dr. Mehrdad Saadatmand is a senior researcher at RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden in Västerås, and holds a PhD degree from Mälardalen University, Sweden. His doctoral thesis is titled "Preservation of Extra-Functional Properties in Embedded Systems Development". He has been involved in several large scale European research projects such as XIVT (eXcellence in Variant Testing), MBAT (Combined Model-Based Analysis and Testing), CHESS (Composition with Guarantees for High-integrity Embedded Software Components Assembly) and CRAFTERS. His main specialty is software engineering methods for embedded real-time systems, in particular, model-based testing and development techniques and methods. Mehrdad was also involved in the TOCSYC project (Testing of Critical System Characteristics) which was a strategic 5-year research project across several Swedish universities and research centers, as leader of the model-based testing work-package. Mehrdad has been a member of the local organization team for ASE 2014 and COMPSAC 2014, both of which were held in Västerås, Sweden in September and July 2014 respectively. He has also been the program committee member of several conferences and workshops; some of which include: ATSE, ICSEA, ModComp, ModelCyPhy track at ITNG 2016, MDCBSE track at ITNG 2014, etc. Mehrdad is also leading the software testing research group at RISE in Västerås, and also served as the publication chair of ICST 2018. In 2017, he also established and started organizing the International Workshop on Testing Extra-Functional Properties and Quality Characteristics of Software Systems (ITEQS) which has been held yearly since then co-located with the ICST conference.

Dr. Abdul Rauf is currently working as an ERCIM Postdoc fellow at RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden in Vasteras, Sweden. He received his Ph.D. (2011) from National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences, Pakistan. He has also worked as Assistant Professor in Imam Saud University in Saudi Arabia from 2012 to 2019. He has published 40+ international peer reviewed conference and journal articles. His research interests relate to Software Testing, Natural Language Processing, and Social Media Analysis. Other areas of interest include Software Process Improvement, Quality Assurance, Software Requirement Engineering and Software Project Management. He has been in organizing committee of the ICTHP and was track chair at ICACC. He was also part of the technical committee in several conferences including FIT, INMIC, ICET, ICEET, IMDC, DSDE, ECIST, and IntelliSys.