Date News Update
28 April. 2017 Talk Prof. Zeller Updated room. New room is 0.06, E9.1-CISPA
27 April. 2017 New Web Site for the Seminar: Input Inference
28 April. 2017 "How to give good presentations" by Prof. Zeller, 13:15, Room 2.22, E9.1-CISPA
26 April. 2017 First Session, 11:00, Room 2.22, E9.1-CISPA
13 April. 2017 Start of Registration
13 April. 2017 Course page went live.

New Web Site

If you are reading this, be aware that this page is obsolete and will be soon removed. The Seminar has a new Web site. Check here

About the Course

Programs require valid inputs to operate and must gracefully handle incorrect ones. Knowing which inputs can be passed to programs is of paramount importance not only for correctly using the programs but also for enabling their systematic testing.
Program inputs might take several formats ranging from simple command line arguments to complex combinations of commands, parameters, options, and files. However, information about program inputs is rarely available, and this calls for automatic ways to recover input formats.

Input Inference

In this seminar, we will study the problem of automatically learning the format of program inputs and discuss how the knowledge of input formats enables the systematic generation of tests.

When & Where

  • Every Wednesday, 11:00-12:00 - The final schedule will be decided in the first meeting
  • CISPA (E9.1) - The room will be defined later


The lecturer is Dr. Alessio Gambi. Invited speakers might occasionally participate to the meetings.


Registration for the course is mandatory, course registration starts on April 13th, 2017.

To register you must send an email to gambi AT with the following data:

  • Name Surname
  • Nationality
  • Faculty and Programme (Bachelor/Master/PhD)
  • I already partecipated to seminars (Yes/No)
  • Motivation (min 300 char, max 500 char)

The seminar can host up to 12 students, and the rule is ``first come, first served''. If you get a place in the seminar, you'll receive a confirmation email; if you do not get a place, your name will be placed in a waiting list, so if someone drops in the first two weeks, you have the option to tuck in.

During the first two weeks, if you are registered you can drop the seminar with no consequences, but you must notify the lecturer. On the contrary, if you stay longer than two weeks or if you do not notify the lecturer about dropping the course, then you fail.
If you are in the waiting list, you have no particular obligations, but you are strongly suggested to participate to the meetings and submit your summaries on time.

Additional Remarks

If you are an international student that cannot register in HISPOS, most probably the proof of course completion you will get from us should be enough for your exchange program coordinator. If you are not sure, contact your coordinator.

Please note, for organizational reasons you have to sign up both in the course registration form given below and in HISPOS.
Deadlines for the HISPOS registration will be posted in the HISPOS portal and announced by email.

Course Format and Passing Requirements

  • Reading group (1 paper/week, summaries, short presentation/summary of the paper, discussion of strengths & weaknesses).
  • At the end of the semester, a 1-day closing session with presentations and/or posters.

What should you do in order to gain credit points for this course?

  • Submit all summaries on time. The deadline for the submission is: on Sunday, 23:59, two days before the weekly meeting.
  • Attend all the weekly meetings. Max 2 unexcused absences accepted, otherwise fail. Please inform us by email if you have a valid reason to miss the discussion.
  • Introduce at least one paper in class before the end of semester. You get an email by Monday, 23:59 if you are selected to give the 3-minute paper introduction in the next meeting. Slides are optional.

Grading Scheme

  • Summary: 60%
  • Final Presentation: 30%
  • Lively discussion: 10%


Each summary should be sent to gambi AT before the deadline. Late submissions will be downgraded or rejected.

You can find some suggestions on how to write a summary here.


At the end of each discussion session we will provide feedback on your summaries and suggestions on how to improve them. On top of that, we will also provide a mini grade which will either be a

  • ++ Great job !
  • + Well done summary, and interesting questions
  • 0 Good summary. The summary fulfills all the requirements
  • - Summary is lacking important aspects. Should be improved
  • -- This is not how you summarize papers ...

In Class Presentations

Each students picks a paper and prepares a short presentation (max 10 mins) to introduce the paper in class. The same student, with the help of the lecturer, will lead the discussion about the paper. If a topic remains un-assigned, the lecturer will pick randomly a student for preparing the presentation.

Additional Items

For a lively discussion, all the students must prepare a short list of questions (min 2, max 5). Questions must be included in the summary report.
No questions?! You get a - !

Related work: everybody must provide in the summary a list of related papers (min 2). Each of these paper must come with a 3-sentence explanation on why the paper is related, why the paper is important, how you found the paper. Related work that are already referenced by the original paper do not count.
No related work?! You get a - !