Prof. Pradel

Prof. Michael Pradel Named “ACM Distinguished Member”

December 8, 2022

Recognition for groundbreaking research results in computer science

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Prof. Michael Pradel, Managing Director of the Institute for Software Engineering of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart, a Distinguished Member. In doing so, it honors Pradel for his outstanding research results, which are already being used in practice and in tools by software developers.

“I am extremely pleased to receive this award and would like to thank everyone who supported my nomination. Although this is a personal award, it is, of course, a result of the excellent work that has been done within my research team ‘Software Lab’ over the past years. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with exceptionally talented and motivated people,” says Pradel.

Founded in 1947, the ACM considers itself the world’s largest society for computer science. The association aims to bring together instructors, researchers, and entrepreneurs in order to jointly solve technical and social challenges in the discipline. The ACM currently has over 100,000 members worldwide as well as 38 Special Interest Groups, which are intended to cover a growing number of sub-areas of information technology. ACM Distinguished Members are long-time members who have made a special contribution to computer science or have considerably advanced the field in the past 10 years. This award is given annually to approx. 50 to 70 researchers from the worldwide computer science community. So far, only 90 Europeans have received the award. Pradel is the first award winner at the University of Stuttgart.

Groundbreaking research results

In naming Pardel an ACM Distinguished Member, the ACM recognizes his profound contributions in three computer science disciplines. Pradel earned the award for his fundamental work on neural software analysis, techniques for the automatic search and correction of software errors, and program analysis for web applications. The paper on “DeepBugs” published at the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications Conference (OOPSLA'18) is considered highly influential. Pradel co-authored the first presentation of a bug detector based on Deep Learning. These methods apply neural models for machine learning to program code, make predictions, and support software developers. The paper is currently one of the most cited papers on learning-based approaches to debugging and has laid the foundation for a number of further research projects. Among these is the paper presented by Jibesh Patra and Pradel on “Semantic Bug Seeding”, which received an ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award from the European Software Engineering Conference forum and the Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE'21). The software company JetBrains also used Pradel’s work as an opportunity to create extensions for integrated development environments (IDE plug-ins) based on DeepBugs.

Automated code correction

Beyond automatic debugging, Pradel has made considerable contributions to the automatic repair of programs. For example, he co-authored Getafix – the first automated bug-fixing technique to be applied in industrial practice. He also co-authored a paper on automatic program repair that was published in the journal “Communications of the ACM” and received widespread attention from the community. In the paper on TypeWriter presented at ESEC/FSE'20, Pradel, Georgios Gousios, Jason Liu, and Satish Chandra demonstrate the first neural type prediction that is usable in practice.

Security for Web Software

Finally, Pradel is considered a leading researcher on dynamic analysis of web applications. For the work “Wasabi: A Framework for Dynamically Analyzing WebAssembly,” he and Daniel Lehmann received a Best Paper Award at the ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems ASPLOS2019. Together with his team, he has conducted empirical studies that identify and assess early risks in the emerging ecosystems of Web software. Special mention should be made of the paper written by Markus Zimmermann, Cristian-Alexandru Staicu, Cam Tenny, and Pradel on security threats in the npm ecosystem (USENIX Security'19) as well as the work by Daniel Lehmann, Johannes Kinder, and Pradel on binary security issues in WebAssembly (USENIX Security'20).

About Prof. Michael Pradel

Prof. Michael Pradel is the managing director of the Institute for Software Engineering at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart, where he heads the Software Lab department and has supervised 10 doctoral students to date. He regularly publishes at top conferences on software engineering, programming languages, and security. His publications include 65 papers at A+ and A category events in the CORE ranking. Pradel received his PhD from ETH Zurich on “Program Analyses for Automatic and Precise Error Detection”, held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California (Berkeley), was an assistant professor at TU Darmstadt, and did a research residency at Facebook. His work has been awarded the Software Engineering Prize of the Ernst Denert Foundation, an Emmy Noether Research Group, and an ERC Starting Grant.

Expert Contact:

Prof. Michael Pradel, University of Stuttgart, Managing Director of the Institute of Software Engineering, e-mail, phone: +49 711 685-88320

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