Foundations of Software Engineering

The fall 2014 edition of 313 will see a complete redesign with a focus on the topics listed below. The course will build on 214 content but not overlap. For 2015 see here.



Successful software projects require more than just technical expertise. Figuring out what the client wants, collaborating in a team, managing complexity, mitigating risks, staying on time and budget, and determining under various constraints when a product is good enough to be shipped are at least equally important topics that often have a significant human component. 15-313 explores these issues broadly covering the fundamentals of modern software engineering.

Qualty and feature conflict Assuming a solid technical foundation of 15-214 (Java programming, unit testing, and object-oriented analysis and design with UML, design patterns, and frameworks) we will explore the following topics:

This course has a strong technical focus, and will include assignments with and without programming. Students will get experience with team management and modern software-engineering tools. The course puts students on a fast track toward project management positions.

Assignments (mostly team assignments) will include:


Lectures: Tue/Thu 3:00-4:20 p.m. in GHC 4307
Recitations: Wed 1:30-2:20 p.m. in WEH 5310 (Section A) and SH 220 (Section B)

Professor Claire Le Goues
WEH 5117
Office hours: Thu 11 a.m. - noon
Email: clegoues@cs.cmu...
Professor Christian Kästner
WEH 5122
Office hours: Mon 10-11 a.m.
Email: kaestner@cs.cmu...
Darya Kurilova
WEH 4105
Office hours: By appointment
(Email me two time options)
Thomas Glazier
WEH 4128
Office hours: Wed 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Email: tglazier@cs.cmu...

Both instructors have an open door policy: If either of the instructors' office doors are open and no-one else is meeting with us, we are happy to answer any course-related questions. For appointments, email the instructors.


The following schedule describes the current planing status and the covered concepts, but will be updated throughout the semester when it helps learning or focusing on requested topics.

Date Topic Additional Notes/Code Assignments Due
Aug 26 Intro & Overview (SE as a human activity and business concern; risk)
Aug 27 Rec 1 Git and GitHub
Aug 28 Process (Lightweight introduction into process, scheduling and tracking progress)
Sep 2 Practicum presentations hw 1 Case study reflection
Sep 3 Rec 2 Software Characteristics and Their Evaluation
Sep 4 Practicum presentations
Sep 9 Measurement (Performance, software and process metrics, statistics) hw 2a Team work, time estimation, and implementation (Planning documents)
Sep 10 Rec 3 Software Metrics and Measurements
Sep 11 Requirements (Why it is hard)
Sep 16 Requirements (Quality attributes) hw 2b Team work, time estimation, and implementation (Code artifacts)
Sep 17 Rec 4 Software Requirements
Sep 18 Requirements (How) hw 2cd Team work, time estimation, and implementation (Reflection documents: team and individual)
Sep 23 Architecture (Case study, views, quality goals)
Sep 24 Rec 5 Architectural Assessment and Decisions
Sep 25 Architecture (Tactics, pattern, documentation, architecture review)
Sep 30 Architecture (Architecture process, architecture erosion, software product lines) hw 3 Requirements
Oct 1 Rec 6 Let's Create a Startup!
Oct 2 Quality Assurance - Introduction and Testing
Oct 7 QA (Testing) hw 4a Architecture
Oct 8 Rec 7 Midterm review
Oct 9 Midterm
Oct 14 QA (Static Analysis part 1) hw 4bc Architecture
Oct 15 Rec 8 Static Analysis (FindBugs)
Oct 16 QA (Static Analysis part 2) hw 4d Architecture
Oct 21 QA (Inspection and Reviews) hw 5a Advanced testing
Oct 22 Rec 9 Dynamic Analysis (AspectJ)
Oct 23 QA (Dynamic Analysis + profiling) hw 5b Advanced testing
Oct 28 QA (Process)
Oct 29 Rec 10 QA Plan
Oct 30 QA (Security Development Lifecycles)
Nov 4 Process + Teams (From Sequential to Iterative) hw 6 Static and dynamic analysis (incl. modern code reviews)
Nov 5 Rec 11 Open source practices
Nov 6 Process + Teams (From Sequential to Iterative)
Nov 11 Process + Teams (Agile Practices)
Nov 12 Rec 12 Process comparison
Nov 13 Process + Teams (Motivation) hw 7a OSE project description
Nov 18 Process + Teams (Conway's Law, Staffing, Hiring)
Nov 19 Rec 13 Conway's Law
Nov 20 Teams + Open Source
Nov 25 No class (Happy Thanksgiving break!)
Nov 26 Rec 14 No recitation
Nov 27 No class (Thanksgiving)
Dec 2 OSE Presentations hw 7b OSE report
Dec 3 Rec 15 Advanced version control
Dec 4 OSE Presentations + Wrap up
Dec 5 (1:30pm) Review session
Dec 11 (1pm) Final exam

Course Syllabus and Policies

Slides, supplementary documents, assignments, grades, and announcements can be found on blackboard.

Waitlist: We have moved to a larger room and hope to admit everybody from the waitlist once the semester starts.

Prerequisites: 15-214 or equivalent (Java programming, unit testing, and object-oriented analysis and design with UML, design patterns, frameworks, and exposure to small projects)

Communication: We make announcements through blackboard. The blackboard discussion boards may be used for clarifying homework assignments and other interactions. The instructors and TAs hold weekly office hours and are reachable by email. They also have an open-door policy: When our door is open and we are not currently meeting with somebody else, feel free to interrupt us for course-related issues.

Grading: Evaluation will be based on the following approximate percentages: 50% assignments, 15% midterm, 25% final, 10% participation.

Textbooks: There is no required textbook and no textbook that covers all topics in the course. We will recommend supplementary readings with each chapter.

Time management: This is a 12-unit course, and it is our intention to manage it so that you spend close to 12 hours a week on the course, on average. In general, 4 hours/week will be spent in class and 8 hours on assignments. Please feel free to give the course staff feedback on how much time the course is taking for you.

Late work policy: Late work will receive feedback but no credit. Due to heavy reliance on teamwork in this course there are no late days. Exceptions to this policy will be made only in extraordinary circumstances, almost always involving a family or medical emergency with your academic advisor or the Dean of Student Affairs requesting the exception on your behalf. Accommodations for travel might be possible if requested at least 3 days in advance.

Academic honesty and collaboration: The usual policies apply, especially the University Policy on Academic Integrity. The 15-214 policy applies as well. Note that most assignments will be done in groups. We expect that group members collaborate but that groups work independently from other groups, not exchanging results. Within groups we expect that you are honest about your contribution to the group's work. In particular, it is inappropriate to cover for students who did not contribute to a group's result.

Teamwork: Teamwork is an essential part of this course. Most assignments are done in teams of 3-5 students. Typically, teams will be assigned by the instructor and stay together for multiple assignments. Guidance on teamwork, reflection, and conflict resolution will be provided throughout the semester. Most assignments have a component that is graded for the entire group and a component that is graded individually. The team policy posted on blackboard applies and describes roles and teams and how to deal with conflicts and imbalances.