Andreas Zeller

Andreas Zeller (high resolution photo)

Andreas Zeller is faculty at the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security and professor for Software Engineering at Saarland University. His research on automated debugging, mining software archives, specification mining, and security testing has proven highly influential. Zeller is one of the few researchers to have received two ERC Advanced Grants, most recently for his S3 project. Zeller is an ACM Fellow and holds an ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award.

Phone:  +49 681 87083-1001
Twitter:  @AndreasZeller
GitHub:  andreas-zeller

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1 March 2013

We are creating a Start-up in Web testing

by Andreas Zeller

Today, my chair has obtained a 500.000 EUR research transfer grant ("EXIST-Forschungstransfer") for funding a start-up in the area of Web application testing.  This project has been running mostly undercover for the past two years, and I'm more than happy to see it kick off now.

The key product is WEBMATE – a service for systematic testing of Web applications.  The scenario is that you go to our website, enter the URL of the site you want to get tested, and WEBMATE will automatically and systematically explore all the functionality on the site.  In its initial inception, it will do so in parallel on multiple browsers and operating systems ("cross-browser testing"), and automatically detect if something works in one browser, but not on the other.  WEBMATE is very good at exploring functionality, be it in Javascript or server-side, and thus easily can find errors.  Plus,  you can have it run as often as you like, for instance as part of a paid subscription.  A service like WEBMATE also forms a great base for regression testing or security testing, and we're thrilled by the many market and research opportunities.

Right now, the EXIST funding secures the WEBMATE team such that they can prepare for building and monetizing the service.  The team consists of three scientists (Martin Burger, Valentin Dallmeier, and Michael Mirold) as well as an experienced IT entrepreneur (Bernd Pohl).  In the past months, these four have spent countless hours interacting with potential customers, business angels, and venture capitalists.  (If you've seen me in a suit in the past months, that typically was due to one of these activities.)  At this point, let's simply say that both the research and financial prospects of automated system test generation are very promising.

From a personal perspective, I will act as mentor and shareholder of our start-up.  At the chair, we will use WEBMATE for our own research purposes, though; and if our new techniques work well, we  now have a process to bring them to the public (and earn money at the same time).  And sure, it feels good to be a professor and an entrepreneur at the same time :-)

To learn more about WEBMATE, see us at CeBIT (Hall 5, D04 for our start up, and Hall 9, F34 for our research), visit our website, or read our papers.  If you're a journalist, check out our press release. tags: