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Michael Franz
Michael Franz

In December 2023, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Michael Franz and a team of researchers from UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) received a SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at the Joint European Software Engineering Conference and ACM Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2023). The work was a collaboration between Franz; Ph.D. student Min-Yih Hsu; postdoctoral researchers Felicitas Hetzelt and David Gens; and Michael Maitland, a compiler engineer at SiFive.

Their paper, “A Highly Scalable, Hybrid, Cross-Platform Timing Analysis Framework Providing Accurate Differential Throughput Estimation via Instruction-Level Tracing,” introduces a new open source framework for predicting the performance impact of software changes.

The Machine Code Analyzer Daemon (MCAD) is a hybrid timing analysis framework that combines the advantages of dynamic and static approaches. As outlined in the paper, MCAD “allows developers to accurately estimate the performance impact of software changes for complete programs within minutes, reducing turnaround times by orders of magnitude compared to existing approaches with similar accuracy.”

Tony Givargis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science, was excited to share the news about their award for this work. “What makes this achievement even more noteworthy is that it marks Michael’s first-ever submission to a software engineering conference!”

Michael Franz leads the Secure Systems and Software Laboratory (SSL), with his primary focus being systems research. “My group has been conducting research that is closely related to software engineering for almost 30 years, but I had never previously submitted a paper to an actual software engineering conference before,” he explains. “So it was a bit surprising and highly gratifying that our first submission to such a conference not only got accepted on the first try, but went straight to winning an award of distinction.” He now plans to continue submitting work to software engineering venues in addition to systems ones.

“Our contribution represents a significant improvement that has clear practical benefit to software developers,” he says, “and I am very encouraged by the recognition that we received from the software engineering community for this work.”

Shani Murray