As an active teaching and research laboratory we produce code and tools, we deliver courses and classes, and we give research presentations.

Programme development

  1. Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Software Engineering
  2. Bachelor of Computer and Information Science

Papers developed by SERL

  1. Distributed and Mobile Systems
  2. Formal Specification and Design
  3. Mobile System Development
  4. Programming 2
  5. Software Architecture
  6. Software Development Practice

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.


Explore degrees

Degree students can be associated with our lab.

Degrees at AUT