Special Issue

Special issue: Journal of Systems and Software

Software Variability in a Connected World

Software variability management is a major challenge during the development, maintenance, and evolution of software-intensive systems. An important precondition for the effective and efficient management of variability is that it must be explicitly modelled. With variability modelling coming of age, it is important to consider also non-functional properties of variable software systems. Nowadays, the role of context information is more and more important in a connected world where many smart devices (e.g., mobile phones IoT devices, wireless sensors, etc.) require context and location awareness properties to deal with the variability of context changes. Also, other critical systems, such as robots or smart vehicles, require advanced runtime reconfiguration and self-adaptive capabilities to deal with unpredictable situations and hazards.

In other situations, systems must be reconfigured and re-deployed at post-deployment time reducing the burden of human operation, and the variability of different configurable options must be managed properly and in some cases without human intervention. This recent trend we have observed demand new software variability mechanisms such as runtime variability able to deal with the challenges for managing the system options dynamically. Emerging approaches such as Dynamic Software Product Lines attempt to cater this need and suggest approaches that can extend traditional self-adaptive mechanisms such as the MAPE-K loop to manage the variants at runtime and often depending on context conditions.

As result of these challenges, we are proposing this Special Issue for the Future Generation Computer Systems Journal that focuses on solutions to develop software variability mechanisms for context-aware systems that need to manage system options at runtime. We believe this special issue is timely as it saves operational costs for many complex systems that demand advance self-adaptation and reconfiguration capabilities and useful for researchers and practitioners. You are invited to submit papers covering the different aspects on software variability management, but not limited to:

  • Variability across the software life cycle
  • Quality properties in variability models
  • Runtime variability approaches
  • Software variability and approaches to represent and manage context knowledge
  • Variability in software architecture
  • Managing variability at post-deployment time
  • Formal verification, testing, and debugging of variability
  • Refactoring and evolution of variable software systems
  • Variability in systems of systems
  • Variability constraint checking at runtime
  • Multiple binding modes for critical systems
  • Reversing variability from systems that use context information
  • Reasoning about context changes and system options at runtime
  • Adding IoT devices and connecting to services dynamically (e.g, smart cities, smart cars)

Guest Editors

  • Rafael Capilla, Rey Juan Carlos University, Spain
  • Lidia Fuentes, University of Málaga, Spain
  • Malte Lochau, TU Darmstadt, Germany



  • April 2, 2018: submission deadline
  • Jun 15, 2018: notification to authors
  • Sep 10, 2018: final submissions
  • Publication: 2018/19


Submission Guidelines

All submissions must be prepared accordingly to the Guide for Authors as published on the journal website at https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-systems-and-software. A submission extended from a previous conference version has to contain at least 30% new material. Authors are requested to attach to the submitted paper their relevant, previously published articles and a summary document explaining the enhancements made in the journal version. Electronic submission of papers: https://ees.elsevier.com/jss/default.asp