PhD Defence Success

Benjamin Denham successfully defended his PhD thesis "Tolerant Machine Learning for Deficient Training Data" on the 7 March. Benjamin received his Bachelor of Information and Communication Technologies from Manukau Institute of Technology, and his Master of Computer and Information Sciences from AUT. Benjamin was supervised by Prof Edmund Lai, Associate Professor Roopak Sinha, and Professor Muhammad Asif Naeem. We congratulate Benjamin and his supervisors, thank them for their great contributions, and wish Benjamin all success in his future endeavours.

PhD Defence Success

20 March 2023, Nurul Afser Talukder successfully defended his PhD thesis. His research was on Understanding Coordination in Distributed Agile Software Development. Nurul obtained his BSc in Computer Science from the American International University, Bangladesh, and his MSc from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain. His supervisors were Dr Mali Senapathi, Jim Buchan, and Prof Stephen MacDonell. We congratulate Nurul and his supervisors, thank them for their great contributions, and wish Nurul all success in his future endeavours.

PhD Defence Success

7 March 2023, Mujtaba Alshakhouri successfully defended his PhD thesis titled “Applied Software Visualisation: Active and Continuous Synchronisation of Code and Requirements in Agile Development Processes”. Mujtaba received his Bachelor of Computer & Information Sciences from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia, and his Master of Computer and Information Sciences from AUT. His supervisors were Prof Stephen MacDonell and Jim Buchan. We congratulate Mujtaba and his supervisors, thank them for their great contributions, and wish Mujtaba all success in his future endeavours.

Paper accepted in “Artificial Intelligence Review” journal


‘Privacy preserving data (stream) mining techniques and their impact on data mining accuracy- A systematic literature review’ co-authored by Waruni Hewage, Roopak Sinha, and M. Asif Naeem has been accepted in Artificial Intelligence Review journal, 2023.

Read the paper

Presentation at IEEE ONCON 2022

Matthew, James, and Barry presented their paper on the simbIoTe simulator at the IEEE ONCON 2022 conference this week. This project is creating an Open Source toolkit and Integrated Development Environment for building simulations of Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical System environments. The paper discusses the software architecture and the design decisions made to enable researchers to quickly create realistic simulations.

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ACM’s 2022 Distinguished Contribution Program

Associate Professor Tony Clear has been featured on ACM’s Distinguished Members Program for Outstanding Educational Contribution to Computing. The program is part of the world’s largest Computing Society that honors members for ground-breaking achievements and longstanding participation.

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Kenneth Johnson on The Mike Hosking Breakfast

Dr. Kenneth Johnson has been featured on NewstalkZB this week, discussing some of the defence measures being undertaken to combat the growing ransomware attacks around the world.

Listen now | Read more

Paper accepted to IEEE ONCON 2022

A paper titled ‘simbIoTe: a simulator for building Cyber-Physical System and Internet of Things environments’, co-authored by Barry Dowdeswell, James Robertson-Bickers, Ramon Lewis, Matthew Kuo, and Roopak Sinha has been accepted to IEEE ONCON 2022 this week.

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Paper accepted in IEEE, Women in Engineering Conference, 2022


A short paper titled ‘Utilizing Noise as an Attack Independent Measure for Representing Privacy in Logistic Cumulative Noise Addition’, co-authored by Waruni Hewage, Roopak Sinha, and Russel Pears has been accepted IEEE, Women in Engineering Conference, 2022 last week.

PhD Defence Success

On the 2 November 2022, Waruni Hewage, successfully defended her PhD thesis, “Optimising the Trade-Off Between Accuracy and Privacy in Data Stream Mining Environments”. Before, Waruni completed her Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. Her supervisors were Assoc. Prof. Roopak Sinha, Prof. Edmund Lai, and Dr. Muhammad Asif Naeem. We congratulate Waruni and her supervisors, thank them for their great contributions, and wish Waruni all success in her future endeavours.

Dr Eugene Yip from University of Bamberg Visits SERC

Dr Eugene Yip from the Software Technologies Research Group, University of Bamberg, Germany visited SERC on Wednesday 9 Nov 2022, delivering a talk on ‘Developing Synchronous Real-Time Systems’.

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Professor Lauri Malmi from Aalto University, Finland, Visits SERC

Professor Lauri Malmi from the Department of Computer Science, Aalto University, Finland visited SERC on Thursday 27 Oct 2022, delivering a talk on ‘Theories in Computing Education Research’. Professor Malmi is leading the Learning + Technology Research Group (LeTech).

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Paper Accepted in IEEE’s SCAM Conference 2022


Intern student Anushka Bhave and A/Prof Roopak Sinha's research paper "Deep Multimodal Architecture for Detection of Long Parameter List and Switch Statements using DistilBERT" will be presented in the 22nd IEEE International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM) 2022 in October.

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Paper Accepted in Software and Systems Modelling Journal

Industrial Control 300

A paper titled "Tracing security requirements in industrial control systems using graph databases" by  Dr. Awais Tanveer, Dr. Chandan Sharma, Associate Professor Roopak Sinha, and Dr. Matthew M. Y. Kuo has been accepted in Software and Systems Modeling (Q1 journal in the field of modeling of simulation and Q2 in Software). The paper is at the printing stage and will be published shortly.

Research paper

Don Receives 2021 Best Prize Paper Award

Don Lee received the 2021 Best Prize Paper Award from The Korean Society of Management Consulting in May 2022. He has also become sessional lecturer in the department of Business Information Systems, AUT Business School, responsible for the BSYS701 course (Enterprise Information Systems & Enterprise Resource Planning).

Tony Clear to deliver SINZ seminar


As part of the SINZ initiative to profile SINZ members' SE work, Associate Professor Tony Clear is the May 2022 speaker for the Software Innovation New Zealand (SI^NZ) Seminar Series with his seminar “Do Scaling Agile Frameworks Address Risk in Global Software Development? An Empirical Study”. All welcome via Zoom.


Tony Clear serves as opponent for doctoral candidate defence


Associate Professor Tony Clear served as the opponent for the defence of doctoral candidate Kristina von Hausswolff at Sweden's Uppsala University. UPCERG member Kristina's thesis aimed to bridge the gap between theory and practice in learning to program.

Abstract Visit UPCERG

Paper accepted in Automated Software Engineering Journal


A paper titled ‘FLASc: A Formal Algebra for Labeled Property Graph Schema, by Dr Chandan Sharma and Dr Roopak Sinha, has been accepted in the Automated Software Engineering Journal (Q2). The paper is at printing stage and will be published shortly.

Visit Journal

ACM SIGCSE Special Project Grant


A SERL team has received a grant from ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education for a project that aims to share SERL members' insights into the education of future software professionals and industry collaborations in their preparation for practice.

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Submission to the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa Discussion Document

Software Innovation NZ’s members (including Jim, Tony and Steve from SERL) recently made a submission to the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa Discussion Document. It highlights the need for strong domestic software development capability, with particular focus on Women, Māori, and Pasifika.

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ECMS SDRA Summer Research Scholarship Awarded to Priyanka Antil


Priyanka Antil has received the ECMS SDRA Summer Research Scholarship for her doctoral research, Portfolio level Global Agile Requirements Prioritization, co-supervised with Dr. Ramesh Lal—a tax-free stipend of NZ$ 4,000 per student. Congratulations to Priyanka and her supervisors.

PhD Defence Success


Awais Tanveer successfully defended his PhD thesis titled: “Techniques for Developing Secure-by-design Industrial Control Software”, on 4th November, 2021. Awais is currently working as a software developer at Oracle New Zealand, has several years of experience developing communication security applications, and is an avid supporter of open-source software hoping to further develop the artifacts produced in his research as an open-source initiative.
His supervisors were  Assoc. Prof. Roopak Sinha,  Prof. Stephen MacDonell, and  Dr. Matthew Kuo.

Paper Published in IEEE Software


A paper titled: “Modelling Influence in Software Ecosystems: Navigating a New Frontier” has been published in IEEE Software, resulting from the work conducted under the collaborative RSNZ Catalyst Leaders funded project, with Professor Daniela Damian.

Paper Project site

Short Paper accepted in IEEE ICDM (CORE A* Conference)


PhD student Ben Denham has had his research paper, titled “Gain-Some-Lose-Some: Reliable Quantification Under General Dataset Shift” accepted at IEEE ICDM 2021. This work is co-authored with Prof. Edmund Lai, A/Prof. Roopak Sinha and Prof. M. Asif Naeem (NUCES, Pakistan).

Slides Presentation

PhD Defence Success

Barry Dowdeswell successfully defended his PhD thesis, “Diagnostic Belief-desire-intention Agents for Distributed Iec 61499 Fault Diagnosis”, on 19 October, 2021. Barry holds a bachelor’s in Chemistry from the University of Auckland and a master’s in Computer and Information Sciences from AUT. He completed his doctoral studies at AUT under the supervision of Associate Professor Roopak Sinha, Professor Stephen Macdonell, and Dr Jennifer Gibb (University of Waikato).

Take part in a survey of NZ developers

If you're an NZ developer, we welcome your response to this survey as part of a collaborative research project supported by Catalyst: Leaders funding. It aims to collect data from software developers and organisations that develop on and for software platforms in New Zealand.

Survey Our project

John Hughes Distinguished Service Award


This year's John Hughes Distinguished Service Award goes to Steve MacDonell from AUT.

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PhD Defence Success


Chandan Sharma successfully defended his PhD thesis titled: “Design of Formal Query Languages and Schemas for Graph Databases”, on 28 September, 2021. Chandan received his bachelor’s degree from Jaypee University of Information Technology, India in 2011 and his master’s degree from AUT in 2016. He then continued his doctoral studies at AUT under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Roopak Sinha, Dr. Alan Litchfield, Dr. Kenneth Johnson, and Prof. Edmund Lai.

Collaboration features in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering


An article titled “Building Maintainable Software using Abstraction Layering” co-authored by John Spray, A/Prof Roopak Sinha, Arnab Sen and Xingbin Cheng reports research conducted through a Datamars-AUT collaboration that shows that a novel Abstraction Layered Architecture produces commercial software that exhibits high maintainability in the long-term.

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Paper Accepted in IECON2021


Master’s student Gilad Itzkovitch and his supervisor Matthew Kuo’s paper, titled “Context Aware Compression for Environmental Edge Devices using LPWAN” has been accepted to IECON2021 conference. It explores techniques to minimize the power consumption of edge devices by examining various compression algorithms suited for resource-contained IoT devices through a novel switch algorithm.

IECON2021 website

HCI group joins SERL


Dr Robert Wellington joins the SERL lab with his Human Computer Interaction (HCI) group, which is a good fit with software development and the increasing emphasis on the usability of software artefacts. Robert’s focus is on supporting research into HCI at all levels of study.

The group pursues a philosophical focus on putting users first, promoting authentic usability study processes, and engaging users meaningfully.

Changes in SERL director roles


Associate Professor Tony Clear will assume the role of director of SERL, while Associate Professor Jacqueline Whalley and Professor MacDonell will take on co-director roles. SERL will continue to be led through a co-operative and team-based approach, as is the nature of the lab.

Our people Our research

Paper accepted in ICTSS 2021


Intern student Smit Patel and A/Prof. Roopak Sinha’s paper “Combining Holistic Source Code Representation with Siamese Neural Networks for Detecting Code Clones” will be presented at IFIP ICTSS in November. It explores the detection of code clones in software code bases. Code clones affect software maintenance costs that already account for a majority of expenditure in software development.

Github ICTSS website

Computing Curricula


The ACM/IEEE CC2020 Task Force worked on a project resulting in the recently published report Computing Curricula 2020: Paradigms for Global Computing Education.

SERL's Associate Professor Tony Clear gave presentations at ITx Innovation Days in July on one of the next stages of the work, on curriculum visualisations.

ITx website Report

Dr Subash Humagain receives his PhD degree


Dr Subash Humagain received his PhD degree on 29 July. His thesis, “Intelligent Dynamic Route Optimization and Road Pre-emption System for On-Road Emergency Services”, was supervised by Associate Professor Roopak Sinha, Professor Edmund Lai and Dr Prakash Ranjtikar (UoA).

Subash is aiming to pursue industrial R&D work in data analytics and transportation.

PhD defence success


Muhammad Tariq successfully defended his PhD thesis titled “Effort Estimation in Agile Development” on 27 July 2021. Tariq was supervised by Professor Stephen MacDonell and Jim Buchan. Congratulations to Tariq and his supervisors.

Research paper accepted

don lee featured

Dong-hyun Lee’s co-authored research article titled “Predicting the outcomes of a Korean national accreditation system for higher education institutions, IEQAS: a method using disclosure data for outsiders” has been accepted for publication in Asia Pacific Education Review (SSCI, Q2 - Higher Education), Seoul National University (issue date 1 December 2021).

Don has also been appointed as a two-year-member of the Board of Directors of Tourism Institute of Northeast Asia.

Architecting an Agent-Based Fault Diagnosis Engine


Barry Dowdeswell’s research article, titled “Architecting an Agent-Based Fault Diagnosis Engine for IEC 61499 Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems”, co-authored with Roopak Sinha and Stephen MacDonell, has been accepted for publication in the MDPI journal Future Internet. It will appear as part of their Special Issue Modern Trends in Multi-Agent Systems.

Jim featured in AgileIT Interview Series

Jim Featured Interview 300

Jim Buchan has recently been featured in AgileIT interview conducted by Luke Pivac as part of Agilists in Auckland series of blogs.

PhD defence success

Subash Humagain Success

Subash Humagain successfully defended his PhD thesis, titled “Intelligent Dynamic Route Optimization and Road Pre-emption System for On-road Emergency Services” on 16 June ’21. Subash was supervised by Roopak Sinha, Edmund Lai and Prakash Ranjitkar (Auckland University).

PhD defence success


Nidhi Gowdra successfully defended his PhD thesis, titled “Exploring entropy-based optimization methods to increase Neural Network model training effectiveness” on 3 June 2021. Nidhi was supervised by Roopak Sinha, Wei Qi Yan and Stephen MacDonell.

Research published in Elsevier’s Information Systems journal


Chandan Sharma’s research article, titled “Practical and Comprehensive Formalisms for Modeling Contemporary Graph Query Languages” co-authored with Roopak Sinha and Kenneth Johnson has been accepted in Elsevier’s Information Systems Journal (h-index 85).

Research published in Elsevier’s Pattern Recognition Journal


Nidhi Gowdra’s research article, titled “Mitigating severe over-parameterization in deep convolutional neural networks through forced feature abstraction and compression with an entropy-based heuristic” co-authored with Roopak Sinha, Stephen MacDonell and Wei Qi Yan, has been accepted at Elsevier’s Pattern Recognition Journal (h-index 210).

Journal-first presentation - ICSSP/ICGSE 2021


A recent journal-first presentation, titled “Do Scaling Agile Frameworks Address Global Software Development Risks? An Empirical Study”  was given at the ICSSP/ICGSE conference as a co-located event at ICSE 2021 on 19 May 2021. The paper is by Sarah Beecham and co-authored with Tony Clear, Ramesh Lal and John Noll.

Adjunct post-doctoral fellow Dr Don Lee joins SERL

don lee featured

Dr Don Lee is completing a one-year research project, primarily in response to COVID-19’s impact on airline operations, at the AUT Software Engineering Research Laboratory, mentored by Professor Stephen MacDonell.

Dr Don Lee's Academic profile

Student research: Arnab Sen


For his Master of Philosophy research, Arnab Sen is working with a company that is an industry leader in innovative software architecture. Support from the Embedded Software group is helping him achieve his research goals.

Read Arnab's story

Graduate success: Xingbin Cheng


After investigating an innovative approach to software architecture for his Master of Computer and Information Sciences, Xingbin Cheng has now been hired by the company he collaborated with for his research.

Read Xingbin's story

Research paper presentation


Jim presented a research paper titled “Applying Distributed Cognition Theory to Agile Requirements Engineering”. This paper was presented in the Requirement Engineering: Foundations for Software Quality (REFSQ) conference.

Research published in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics


Awais Tanveer has had a paper accepted in the Q1-ranked IEEE TII journal. The paper proposes a novel design abstraction called “secure links” which allow software developers to include communication security mechanisms into industrial control applications while ensuring high code readability and maintainability.

Research published in Journal of Systems and Software


Barry Dowdeswell, a PhD student who studies fault diagnostics for industrial cyber-physical systems had a paper accepted to the Q1-ranked Journal of Systems and Software. The paper surveys the state of the art of fault identification and management across the aerospace, automotive and industrial control domains.


Invited talk by Dr. Chen-Wei Yang

Invited talk by Dr. Chen-Wei Yang (teamphoto)

The EMSOFT group hosted a talk, titled “Autonomy in Energy Systems Automation - systems engineering perspective” by Dr. Chen-Wei Yang from LTU, Sweden.

More information

Jim Buchan at Southern SaaS conference

Jim Buchan

In his presentation "Successfully on boarding a new team member – good luck or good support", Jim Buchan talked about some contemporary team on boarding techniques used in the software industry and highlighted challenges in current practices.

Callaghan Innovation

Programme (EIS Everywhere)

Parametric model checking


Dr. Kenneth Johnson recently presented his work on Parametric model checking at University of Waikato. This presentation was based on a paper titled “Efficient Parametric Model Checking Using Domain Knowledge” published in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.

Research paper


Research paper accepted in “Transport Reviews”


Subash Humagain, a Ph.D. student, had a research paper accepted in “Transport Reviews” - a very high ranked journal. The publication titled “A systematic review of route optimisation and pre-emption methods for emergency vehicles”  reports the current state of the art in intelligent transportation systems.