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Software Engineering & Management

According to IEEE’s definition software engineering can be defined as the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software, and the study of these approaches; that is, the application of engineering to software. The Software Engineering group at the department (abbreviated to SE) uses this definition as a starting point for its research in software engineering.

Characteristics of the group and its research

The SE group addresses in particular problems of effectiveness and efficiency of software engineering processes. The group focuses on the strong industrial context of the research and structures its education programs around it. The main body of research is focused on three key issues:

  • Efficiency of LEAN software development processes
  • Effectiveness of model-driven software engineering methods
  • Software quality assurance with focus on measurement processes for decision support

The main research methods used in the group are empirical, in particular experiments and case studies. The empirical orientation of the group is one of its strengths and it has resulted in obtaining funding directly from a strong industrial player – Ericsson AB.

Thanks to the close cooperation with Ericsson the group has become recognized internationally and has received a publicity through such awards like the best-paper award for the paper on stakeholders’ viewpoints in design models at one of the premiere forums for research in modeling within SE.

An important aspect of the group’s research is acting according to the principles of action research and work closely with software engineering industry – Ericsson, Volvo Car Corporation, RUAG Space and Volvo Information Technology. Conducting the research according to the principles of action research resulted in successful transfer of research results into the daily work of Ericsson or Volvo Information Technology.
The collaboration with Ericsson is the most noteworthy one as it uniquely incorporates senior researchers’ expertise in action research projects.

Characteristics of strong research achievements

The efficiency of LEAN software development and the research on globalization aspects of software engineering is a well-published area within the SE group. The work on benefits of globalization or two-stage off-shoring was done in collaboration with the Irish research group at the University of Limerick and is an example of a strong, long-term research collaboration of the SE group. Not only it is a strong collaboration, but also has a strong potential to be extended in the future.

The effectiveness of model-driven software engineering methods focuses on identifying and evaluating best practices for designing complex embedded software products. The research is conducted in collaboration with Ericsson AB and previously with Volvo Information Technology. The most noteworthy achievement in this field is a recent best-paper award at the premier software modeling conference. This work is an example of a strong collaboration where theory of modeling meets the practice of software engineering of complex large software products.

Finally, the area of software quality assurance can briefly be characterized as research aimed at industrialization and popularization of using automated software metrics for decision support, in particular the industrialization of the ISO/IEC 15939 standard (“Software and Systems Engineering – Measurement Processes”). This work has resulted in direct improvements of efficiency of operations within Ericsson – some noteworthy examples include improvements of quality of certain software products by the factor of 4 or optimizations of the number of metrics collected (reducing the number from ca. 3000 to ca. 200 and including new measurement areas).

More information about the related projects can be found at: www.ait.gu.se/metrics. This research area is an example of a strong and effective R&D collaboration between the university and the department.

Potential for the future

The field of software development is going into the direction of integration with systems engineering and thus attacking problems of growing complexity. Software engineering is increasingly often practiced in distributed large software development projects using models as means to tackling the increased complexity of the developed software products. SE group has a strong potential to deploy the groups research in such distributed projects by combining the research on LEAN software development, modeling and quantitative quality assurance.

The strong future potential of the group lies in its ability to quickly adjust to industrial needs and its profile of empirical research.  The uniqueness of the group’s research lies in the successful adoption of its research by such industrial players as Ericsson, Volvo Information Technology or RUAG Space. This adoption, in addition to solid publication profile of the group make it an attractive environment for both students, researchers, and industrial practitioners in the field of software engineering.

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