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A systematic review of interaction in search-based software engineering

Ramirez, Aurora; Romero, Jose Raul; Simons, Christopher


Aurora Ramirez

Jose Raul Romero


IEEE Search-Based Software Engineering (SBSE) has been successfully applied to automate a wide range of software development activities. Nevertheless, in those software engineering problems where human evaluation and preference are crucial, such insights have proved difficult to characterize in search, and solutions might not look natural when that is the expectation. In an attempt to address this, an increasing number of researchers have reported the incorporation of the ‘human-in-the-loop’ during search and interactive SBSE has attracted significant attention recently. However, reported results are fragmented over different development phases, and a great variety of novel interactive approaches and algorithmic techniques have emerged. To better integrate these results, we have performed a systematic literature review of interactive SBSE. From a total of 669 papers, 26 primary studies were identified. To enable their analysis, we formulated a classification scheme focused on four crucial aspects of interactive search, i.e. the problem formulation, search technique, interactive approach, and the empirical framework. Our intention is that the classification scheme affords a methodological approach for interactive SBSE. Lastly, as well as providing a detailed cross analysis, we identify and discuss some open issues and potential future trends for the research community.


Ramirez, A., Romero, J. R., & Simons, C. (2019). A systematic review of interaction in search-based software engineering. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 45(8), 760-781.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 6, 2018
Publication Date Aug 1, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2018
Journal IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Print ISSN 0098-5589
Electronic ISSN 1939-3520
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 8
Pages 760-781
Keywords search-based software engineering, interaction, optimisation
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