COMP SCI 4409 - Search Based Software Engineering

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

Many activities in software engineering involve an element of search. Some examples include selection of requirements, localisation and correction of defects, and the optimisation of test coverage. The fast-growing field of Search-Based Software Engineering (SBSE) applies computing resources to these search problems to improve the efficiency and quality of software engineering processes. This course aims to introduce students to a wide range of SBSE terminology, techniques, and processes. The concepts taught in the lectures will be practised and reinforced by participation in three projects, and one seminar with a written essay on a recent SBSE-related conference article.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMP SCI 4409
    Course Search Based Software Engineering
    Coordinating Unit Computer Science
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 2 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites COMP SCI 2201
    Incompatible COMP SCI 4809
    Assessment Written exam and/or assignments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Markus Wagner

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Develop knowledge of optimisation techniques and methodologies set in the context of search-based software engineering.
    2 Gain experience in matching various optimisation methods and algorithms for particular classes of problems.
    3 Develop knowledge and experience in developing search-based software engineering approaches for real-world applications.
    4 Read and understand scientific research papers and present them in a talk.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   2.1   2.2   3.2   3.6   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    3, 4
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes CBOK Alignment**
    Assignment 1 5 Individual Summative/Formative Week 4 1. 2. 1.1 1.2 2.3 2.4 3.2 4.1 4.3
    Assignment 2 15 Group Summative/Formative Week 7 2. 1.1 1.2 2.3 2.4 3.2 4.1 4.3
    Assignment 3 15 Group Summative/Formative Week 11 3. 1.1 1.2 2.3 2.4 3.2 4.1 4.3
    Research report 1 and talk 30 Individual Summative/Formative Week 6 3. 4. 1.2 3.2
    Research report 2 and talk 30 Individual Summative/Formative Week 12 3. 4. 1.2 3.2
    Online quizzes 5 Individual Summative/Formative Week 1-12 1. 1.1 1.2 2.3 2.4 3.2
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.

    **CBOK is the Core Body of Knowledge for ICT Professionals defined by the Australian Computer Society. The alignment in the table above corresponds with the following CBOK Areas:

    1. Problem Solving
    1.1 Abstraction
    1.2 Design

    2. Professional Knowledge
    2.1 Ethics
    2.2 Professional expectations
    2.3 Teamwork concepts & issues
    2.4 Interpersonal communications
    2.5 Societal issues
    2.6 Understanding of ICT profession

    3. Technology resources
    3.1 Hardware & Software
    3.2 Data & information
    3.3 Networking

    4. Technology Building
    4.1 Programming
    4.2 Human factors
    4.3 Systems development
    4.4 Systems acquisition

    5.  ICT Management
    5.1 IT governance & organisational
    5.2 IT project management
    5.3 Service management 
    5.4 Security management

    Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.

    For this course, the implications are minor:

    1. Lectures will be held online, either as live streams or via uploaded videos. I need to go through some training myself -- there will definitely be recordings, but I will need to see if I can provide live streams, too.
    2. Guest talks: I will explore the options with the colleagues. Again: these might be uploaded videos or live streams.
    3. Assessments:
        1. Quizzes and essays: no changes!
        2. Spotlight talks and videos: ONE CHANGE HERE! ==> Everybody now has to produce two videos, i.e., one video for the first paper and one video for the second paper. Given the current situation, in-class presentations are not an option. I will attempt to make the videos available to everybody so that you can see what your classmates have done.
    4. The extra tech support sessions for Assignments 2 and 3: we will probably run these via Zoom. Similarly, your progress presentations for Assignments 2 and 3 will most likely be via Zoom. ==> We will broadcast more information on time.
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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