School of Computer Science

Software Engineering Research Group

The Software Engineering Research group is establishing itself quickly and firmly in the international stage. The orientation of the group is towards advancing the state-of-art and -practice of engineering large scale software systems with a careful balance in linking rigorous and foundational research to practice. The focus is on the systematic engineering of scalable solutions, which are targeted towards real problems and emerging distributed computing paradigms (e.g. Service Computing, Cloud Computing). Our investigations are steered by business needs and informed through industrial collaborations and consultancies.

The group conducts research on tightly intertwined issues in fundamental areas of software engineering with a focus on requirements engineering; ultra-large-scale software architecture; software modelling and code generation; software analysis, testing and verification; model checking; software project management and economics; automated software engineering; robotics software engineering; green software engineering; security software engineering and cloud software engineering and search-based software engineering.

The group has played a world-leading role in researching the fundamentals of engineering large scale, dynamic and heterogeneous software systems benefiting from synergies with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; theories from Economics, Utilities and Finance; Nature-inspired and Evolutionary Computing; Optimisation and Operations Research. In particular, the group has played a pioneering role in shaping the foundation of synergistic areas in software engineering including Search-based Software Engineering; Adaptive and Dynamic Search-Based Software Engineering, Economics-driven Software Engineering and Software Engineering in/for the Cloud. In search-based Software engineering, the SEBASE project (a £2.6m joint EPSRC project among UCL, York and Birmingham) was shortlisted in 2012 by The Times Higher Education Awards for the award of "Research Project of the Year". The group is currently a partner of the on-going £6.8m EPSRC Programme Grant on "DAASE: Dynamic Adaptive Automated Software Engineering" (Jointly with UCL, York, Stirling).

The group is committed to publish in top software engineering conferences (e.g. ICSE, WICSA etc.) and learned journals(e.g. TSE, TOSEM, JSS etc.) reflecting our core strategy and vision of deepening excellence. Group members are key participants in scholarly activities (e.g. editorial, conferences, lecturing etc), which aimed at promoting the subject internationally. The group research has generated significant impact internationally, including both publications and open-source tools, e.g., Prism Probabilistic Model Checker; Automated UML model analysis tool, UML2Alloy etc.

The group has been actively involved in training research students (estimated 22 PhD students in Jan. 2014), research visitors and postgraduate students in a range of software engineering topics. Alumni of the group have secured positions in prestigious research and industrial labs worldwide.

The group is a home for the specialist interest group on Software Engineering In/for the Cloud. This is an informal group that explores new strands in cloud software engineering as a utility and economics-driven engineering. The interest group reflects our dynamic multidisciplinary research culture and is expected to incubate a formal group on the subject.

Industrial collaborators include IBM Research, BT Research Laboratory, Thales, Danske Bank, HP research laboratories, Honda, Vodafone, Air France -KLM, Berner and Mattner, BT Laboratories, Dstl, Ericsson, GCHQ, Honda Research Institute Europe, IBM, Microsoft Research and VISA UK among the others.

Our research activities crosscut the below fundamental and synergistic themes:

  • Distributed Software Engineering
  • Software Engineering IN and FOR the Cloud
  • Requirements Engineering
  • Architectures and Modelling
  • Analysis,Testing and Verification
  • Dependability, Security and Green Aspects of Software Engineering
  • Economics-Driven Software Engineering
  • Search-Based Software Engineering
  • Computational Intelligence for Software Engineering
  • Theortitcal and Formal Aspects of Software Engineering
  • Automated and Robotics Software Engineering