Most Influential Paper Award for Software Product Lines
Call for Nominations

Home / Most Influential Paper Award for Software Product Lines
Call for Nominations

The Software Product Line (SPL) Conference has established a Most Influential Paper (MIP) award to recognize significant research contributions to SPLs. Nominations are sought and will be reviewed by the SPLMIP committee.  A nominated paper:

  1. Must be published at least 10 years ago.
  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. If an author of a nominated papers is on the Award Committee, the paper will not be considered until the author(s) rotates off the committee; the nomination is time-stamped by its submission date, not when the nomination becomes active.
  5. Nominations are active for up to 4 years upon receipt and would need to be resubmitted upon nomination expiration.

We anticipate an MIP Award will be given every year. Award winners will be contacted at least 3 months in advance of the Conference and will be posted/announced in June of that year. 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 that will forward the nomination to all the members of the committee.

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

Duties of SPLMIP Chair and Members.

Current Committee Membership

  • David Benavides, University of Seville, Spain,(Chair), member since 2018
  • Sven Apel, Saarland University, Germany, member since 2023
  • Paul Gr├╝nbacher, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, member since 2022
  • Jean-Marc Jezequel, University of Rennes, France,(Past Chair), member since 2020
  • Ina Schaefer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, member since 2023
  • Wesley K.G. Assuncao, North Carolina State University, USA, member since 2024

Past Committee Members

  • Stefania Gnesi, ISTI-CNR, Italy, member since 2017 (Past Chair)
  • Don Batory, University of Texas, USA, member since 2017 (Past Chair)
  • Rick Rabiser, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
  • Paulo Borba, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, member since 2019 (Past Chair)

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.

  • Person XY — I have cited McIlroy’s work in my research (give citations) for the following reasons…
  • Person QR — I have worked in Software component repositories, and McIlroy’s paper inspired my work and that of others by … (give reasons).
  • Person ST — McIroy’s paper should be among the “top-reads” in the history of SPL development.
  • Person ZW — His paper was cited in the following venues, all of which have contributed (the following…) to the development of SPLs.
  • others

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.