The SCORE 2016 Contest: Call for Participation

The fourth edition of the Student Contest on Software Engineering (SCORE) is part of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2016).

SCORE is a worldwide competition for undergraduate and master's level students. It emphasizes the engineering aspects of software development, not limited to programming. Student teams participating in the contest will complete a full-lifecycle software project on a selected project topic.

To take part in the competition, teams must register and follow the contest rules as outlined below. Upon completion of their work, teams will submit an initial project report; then, qualifying teams will submit full software products covering the whole software development process. After a careful evaluation carried out by the SCORE Program Committee, a limited number (3 to 5) of finalist teams will be invited to ICSE 2016 in Austin, Texas for final project presentation and evaluation, and will receive their awards at the conference.

Please consider promoting the SCORE contest to your students and colleagues. A flyer is available for download.

Be sure to pay attention to the SCORE timeline and important dates.


Between January and November 2015, teams of 3-5 students can enter SCORE 2016: they select a project topic among those offered, and register using the EasyChair site. Their goal is to undertake a full-fledged software engineering project that adheres to the chosen topic description and encompasses all aspects of the engineering process, including planning, requirements, design, implementation, and testing.

Following the best software engineering practices, teams document the process and its outcomes using formal and informal notations, configuration management tools, and process-specific techniques. They collect all artifacts and documentation and produce a detailed project report. By the 15 January 2016 deadline, teams submit a 20-page summary report, which gives a self-contained summary of their project development.

Based on the summary reports, the SCORE Program Committee selects a number of semi-finalist teams to submit their complete project reports and artifacts by the 23 March 2016 deadline.

After evaluating the complete reports and artifacts of semi-finalist teams, the SCORE Program Committee selects a limited number of finalist teams by the 7 April 2016 deadline, and invites them to present their projects at ICSE 2016 in Austin, TX, USA.

Finally, after presentations at ICSE 2016, the SCORE Program Committee selects the winning team and presents awards during the conference.

Contest Rules

[see also: FAQ]

Project topics must be selected from the official SCORE projects list. Self-defined or any other project topic will not be accepted for SCORE submission. Always remember that the main focus of the participants should be to produce state-of-the-art software by following a sound software engineering process.

Each project topic description lists one or more reference persons in the SCORE Program Committee who may be contacted with questions regarding the project topic that are not covered in its description. Interactions with a project’s reference persons are limited to teams that have officially registered for that project topic; and are subject to restrictions and rules specified in the project description.

Team Registration

Teams that wish to participate in SCORE must register using the SCORE EasyChair site. Registration must be done no later than 30 November 2015.

Team Composition

Participating teams must be composed exclusively of students, at the undergraduate and at the graduate (Master's) level. Every team must have no less than three members. Teams are strongly advised to have no more than five members. Teams may be formed and projects may be developed as part of a software engineering course. Also, teams can be composed of students from different institutions. [see: For Software Engineering Instructors]

Every team must designate two contact persons, to whom communications and inquiries will be addressed. One contact person must be a member of the team; the other may be another team member or a faculty person who is supervising the students (for example if the project is carried out in the context of a software engineering course). However, the faculty person cannot actively participate in the development of the project with the supervised team.

Project Development

Since SCORE is a Software Engineering contest, participating teams are required to undertake, at least partially, all aspects of the engineering process, including planning, requirements, design, implementation, and testing. Requirements should be described adequately (by traditional means or perhaps by means of user stories, use cases and scenarios). The outcome of the design phase should be a document that at least describes the architecture model. Implementation must follow the principles of modern software engineering (this includes proper source code documentation). Testing should include unit, integration and acceptance testing.

Projects may focus on some aspects of the process or system and devote more time and space to them in their reports, provided that no aspect is completely neglected, and all are documented. Project documentation must be entirely in English.

Software Engineering Process

Teams are free to choose their own development approach and to organize their process accordingly. However, they should provide adequate process documentation to show they defined and followed the chosen process.

The use of basic software engineering tools such as source code repositories with version control management, build systems, and testing frameworks is expected, and the documented, proper use of more advanced tools will be valued in project reviewing. Continuous integration systems, static analysis tools, advanced testing and coverage tools, formal methods, and other types of methods and tools can strengthen teams' software engineering methodology and ultimately aid them in producing a better product.

The appropriate use of diagrams in project documentation is expected. Different projects will have different needs, so there are no fixed requirements, but both formal and informal diagrams can aid in understanding and documenting both requirements and design.

Conflicts of Interest

Program Committee members will not evaluate projects developed by teams that include members that are affiliated with the PC members’ institution at any time between September 2014 and December 2015 (regardless of which project is developed by the teams). ACM conflict of interest rules generally apply to the SCORE contest.

Copyright Issues

Unless exceptions are explicitly stated in advance, all artifacts produced by the teams will be treated confidentially by the PC during the evaluation phase, but a copyright release will be requested from the teams selected to submit a full deliverable of their project (see the evaluation procedure below).

Paid Work

SCORE 2016 projects cannot be performed as part of paid industrial work. Team members may be supported in their studies by assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, or the like, but duties associated with the support must not be tied to participation in the SCORE project.

Submission and Evaluation of Deliverables

Abstract and Summary Report

To take part in the SCORE contest, teams must submit an abstract before the 30 November 2015 deadline. Then, before the 15 January 2016 deadline, they must submit a report of no more than 20 pages. Such report must be formatted single-column with no less than a 11pt body font. The report should describe the various artifacts produced during the development.

The report must include: documentation of the software engineering process; overview of the requirements; overview of the design, including tradeoffs and choices; description of the implementation, including platform choices, team assignments, design changes; description of verification and validation activities and outcomes; description and evidence of implementation operation; and a post-mortem analysis with project reflection, lessons learned, and other important non-product outcomes of the project.

It is expected that full project documentation will not fit into the 20-page report, thus you will need to choose your material and craft your report carefully. It would be good to include evidence of project progress such as graphs or analyses of repository activity, growth of user story base, project velocity graphs over iterations, and other such data analysis that shows project progress throughout its timeline and equitable team participation.

Each submitted report will be evaluated by at least 2 members of the SCORE Program Committee. Evaluation will be based on standard quality criteria for software development.

Final Deliverable

From the report evaluations a select number of teams will be asked to submit final, full deliverables before the 23 March 2016 deadline. There is no fixed cutoff on the number of teams selected; rather, it will depend on the number of high quality submissions that are received.

The final deliverable must include a fully functioning project installation in a self-contained VirtualBox virtual machine (VM) image, working with VirtualBox version 4.3 or later. The project documentation should include instructions on how to use the VM image to run the applications. For projects that involve mobile or other special platforms, the virtual machine can be based on a simulator of the platform running the developed application.

Teams are encouraged, where possible, to use non-commercial platforms for their installation. If a deployed project's virtual machine image depend on commercial software (e.g., a commercial O/S), it must be properly licensed and the PC reviewing process will be considered fair use.

The final deliverable virtual machine image must include implementation code and other development outcomes (work products such as specifications, tests, verification experiments, and so on). The teams are responsible to deliver all the material that is necessary to run and fully evaluate their product (this will include any non-standard, non-free, or non-publicly available development tools, libraries, run-time environments, and so on).

Evaluation will be based on quality of all aspects of the project (process followed, development outcomes, and so on).

From these the program committee will then select a small number of overall SCORE finalists based on the final deliverables. One or more representatives from these teams will be invited to present their projects at the ICSE 2016 conference. Award winners will be selected during the conference.

Financial Support to Finalists

We anticipate that the ICSE 2016 conference will provide a financial award to help offset travel expenses to one member per team for finalist teams. Free registration to the main conference will be offered to a limited number of members of the finalist teams. Full details about financial support to finalist teams will be posted when the overall conference budget is finalized.

Important Dates

See the dates page for all of the deadlines and other dates.


An overall SCORE winner will be selected at the ICSE 2016 conference, and all finalists will be recognized at the conference.

After the SCORE competition ends, the summary reports of the projects that are selected as finalists will be published on the SCORE contest web site.