FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q) Does SCORE accept
Q) Can I join the SCORE contest while bringing my own project?
No, self-proposed projects are not allowed. If you want to participate, you must choose one of the projects proposed officially by the SCORE program committee.
Q) Why won't SCORE accept self-proposed projects?
The main reason is simply that we want a real and fair competition, not an exhibition of nice self-decided projects. We think that the evaluation and comparison of the various submissions would be extremely hard (and its results highly questionable) if teams could propose their own project topics.
Q) Won't disallowing self-proposed projects discourage participation?
We hope it won't, at least not everybody's participation! Also, the sheer maximization of participation is not our top (or unique) priority; we hope not to miss important participants, but we set up a set of rules trying to build a contest as fair as possible for everyone.
Q) Can I modify the requirements of a proposed project?
Completeness and flexibility of requirements may vary among the available projects. Any modifications in the requirements of the application to be developed must be negotiated by SCORE participants (and their SE instructors) with project proponents, much as changes in the original requirements are sometimes agreed upon between application developers and customers.
Q) How large must a team participating to SCORE be?
The maximum number of people in a team is 7, but we strongly encourage teams to have no more than 5 members. The minimum number of people in a team is 2, in order to guarantee that project development is a real teamwork.
Q) Do I have to be a student to take part in SCORE? What kind of student?
Yes, you must be a full-time student, and you must provide a proof of this fact when submitting your project. We allow both undergraduate and Master's students, but no PhD students. Teams can mix undergraduate and graduate students.
Q) Why not PhD students?
It is a matter of fairness, as PhD students are usually well versed in software engineering theory and practice, having studied the subject in great depth both in classes and during their research activity, which gives them an unfair advantage over much less experienced competitors.
Q) I am currently a student at master’s level, but I will receive my degree in the year 2010, then I will start a PhD program. Can I still be part of a team participating in SCORE?
Q) I am currently a student at undergraduate/master’s level, but I will graduate in the year 2010, then I will start working for a company. Can I still be part of a team participating in SCORE?
It depends on when the summary report is submitted. We will check the status of the members of a participating team at the time of the submission of the summary report (which can be any time between March 2010 and Mid-January 2011). If you are still a student at the undergraduate/master’s level at that time, then you (and your team) will be allowed to participate in SCORE.
Q) Can members of the same team come from different institutions/countries?
Yes they can. Diverse teams are more than welcome, although SCORE doesn't provide any mechanism to form or facilitate the interaction in such teams, so the team formation and management is entirely up to the team members themselves.
Q) Is it required for each team to have a reference faculty member? Is it advised? What's his/her role?
There is no mandatory requirement on having a reference faculty member, although it is fine (and probably useful) if teams have one. It has to be understood that the faculty referent must be at most a general advisor, and must not participate actively in the development of the project by the team.
Q) What happens if a team composition changes after the team has registered?
A limited amount of changes in the team composition are allowed even after registration. For instance, the team may grow in size, or one person may be replaced. The contact person, however, is constrained not to be changed.
On the synergy between SCORE and Software Engineering courses
I teach a Software Engineering course at my University:
Q) Can I use SCORE's project topics as term projects for my software engineering courses?
Q) Can my students develop SCORE projects within the course’s framework?
Both are allowed and encouraged: Both would be helpful to SCORE and be an excellent way to reach a large base of potential (and talented!) participants, and it's a nice way for instructors to provide challenging projects to their students.
Q) How can I accommodate SCORE within my course's schedule?
If you look at SCORE's timeline, you'll see that a little less than a full year (from Febraury 2010 to January 2011) elapses between the project themes presentation and the closing of the submission of the summary reports (the first deliverable). This should encompass two full terms in most academic calendars. However, the target project "size" is approximately as a "standard" term project. Hence, you can pick SCORE's project themes and use them regardless of which semester your software engineering course is in.
Q) My Software Engineer class ends in [Spring 2010]: can my students submit their projects at the end of the course (or a little later), well in advance of January 2011?
Yes, they can. The submission procedure will open at the beginning of the year 2010 (around March 2008), and will remain open until mid-January 2011. Teams can submit their project (i.e. the summary report) at any time in that window, so also during the spring/summer of 2010.
Q) Can I use a different project theme, besides those proposed by SCORE? One which fits best my courses.
No, if you want to compete in SCORE you must pick one of the project themes proposed by the program committee (see the other FAQs as well).
Q) How is the evaluation process managed?
The official evaluation is a two-phase process. First a summary report is delivered (deadline January 15, 2011, but ready reports can be delivered even earlier at any time; see here for suggestions on the production of the report). The report will be evaluated by the stakeholder or the project proponent – if they are not the same person – and other members of the PC. Based on this first evaluation, a selection of the teams will be invited to submit full project documentation (see here), which will be used by the PC to select the finalists (to be invited to ICSE) and the winners among them (one final evaluation phase may also depend on the oral presentations given at ICSE during SCORE sessions: suggestions will be given to the finalists on how to organize their presentations). During every evaluation phase the main – but not exclusive – judgement is up to the project proposer and/or the other PC members who act as stakeholders (other than possible "internal stakeholders" that may be considered as part of the team). Each project proponent will have his or her own criteria for the evaulation process. Contact the proponent to learn more.
Q) Can my team send the application code/test results/verification results, instead of (or in addition to) a 20-page document, as the summary report?
No, you will be allowed to submit only the 20-page (max) report. You will be asked additional, more in-depth information about your project only if you are selected for the second phase of the evaluation process.
Q) Does this mean that we can delay doing the implementation until we are selected for the second phase of the evaluation process?
Not really. Given the short time (about a month and a half, from mid-January to the end of February) between the summary report and the final deliverable (and the even shorter time between announcement of the teams who will be asked to submit the final deliverable and the deadline for the final deliverable itself), it is expected that your project will be completed (including implementation code, etc.) by around mid-January anyway.
Q) We are registered for the SCORE contest; do we have to wait until January 2011 to submit our project, even if we have finished it well in advance?
Q) We have already submitted the summary report for our project, but submissions are still open: can we submit a new (modified) version of the report?
Yes, you can modify your submission and send us a new, revised summary report as long as submissions are still open. Only your latest submission will be considered for evaluation (and will have to respect all criteria for eligibility for evaluation, including those on team composition).
Q) We have submitted the summary report well in advance of the January 2011 closing date for submission: will you evaluate our project before January/February 2011, and notify us if we have been selected to send the final delwiverable before the end of February 2011?
Under normal circumstances the answer is negative. The evaluation of the summary reports will be carried out only after the submission date for summary reports closes, and teams selected to submit the final deliverable will be notified by mid February 2011. The reason for this is that only a limited number of teams will be selected to submit the final deliverable. For fairness, all summary submissions will be considered at the same time to allow comparison of the quality of the projects. A limited number of the summary submissions will then be asked to submit a final submission.
However, in a few exceptional cases (e.g., if the teams have major difficulties in communicating with the PC during the evaluation time) they may ask for a preliminary evaluation of their report: in such a case the PC will either exclude that a complete delivery will be requested – if the overall evaluation of the report is below an acceptable threshold – or invite them to submit the full material anyway, provided that such a material will be in any case evaluated in comparison with other products at the right time.
Q) Does our team have more chances to win the contest if we carry out a lot of work and produce lots of artifacts?
It all depends on the overall quality of the artifacts you produce. In evaluating submitted projects we will emphasize quality over quantity (provided, of course, that quantity is sufficient).
Lots of confused and poorly organized artifacts will be evaluated worse than selected ones of good quality (provided, of course, these cover all aspects of software development, as mentioned in the Call for Participation).
Q) If our team is selected as finalist at the end of March 2011, we’ll have a relatively short time to arrange our trip to Hawaii. In particular, we may have trouble getting visas. What can we do about that?
If your team is selected for submitting the final deliverable, you have good (approximately 50%) chances of being selected as finalist. Hence, first of all we suggest that you tentatively start making your travel arrangements as soon as you are selected by mid February 2011. In addition, if you think the process for getting your visas may be particularly long, notify us as soon as possible, possibly when submitting your first summary report. ACM issues visa support letters after conference registration. We will do our best to notify the finalists as soon as possible, and to help making their travel arrangements in time. More information about this issue will be made available when the submission deadlines are approaching.