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Prof Mark Harman
Prof Mark Harman profile picture
  • Professor of Computer Science
  • Dept of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
Mark Harman is professor of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at University College London where he directs the CREST centre. He is widely known for work on source code analysis and testing and was instrumental in the founding of the field of Search Based Software Engineering, a field that currently has active researchers in 24 countries and for which he has given 16 keynote talks.
Research Summary

In 2001 I founded the field of Search Based Software Engineering (SBSE), building on the EPSRC SEMINAL network that I led from 1999 to 2002 and currently funded by the £2.7M EPSRC SEBASE project which I lead. The SBSE movement provides a fresh angle on Software Engineering, that is complementary to existing approaches. According to SBSE, the problems faced by software engineers are reformulated as search based optimization problems. This approach is now becoming widespread in Software Engineering research (and finding its way into practice too), but when first proposed I found that it was regarded as very radical, even heretical.

Since 2001 there has been a rapid rise of research and practice in SBSE. There is now active research in 25 countries, across all continents of the globe (except Antarctica). In the UK alone, there are active researchers and practitioners of SBSE in at least 20 organisations (including both companies and universities). I have given many keynotes at refereed conferences on the topic of SBSE and also gave a ‘Future of Software Engineering’ talk and invited paper at ICSE 2007. My work on SBSE is being used increasingly in industry, and is currently used by many, including Ericsson, Motorola, Microsoft, Google and IBM.

I am also known for work on source code analysis and testing. In 1997 I introduced Amorphous Slicing, a way of reducing program size by focussing upon a point of interest within a program. Amorphous slicing has been studied and developed by many universities and research institutes and has been incorporated into industrial tools. The work originated in the EPSRC project GUSTT for which I was the PI and which was rated outstanding on completion. Work on amorphous slicing has since been funded by other bodies and companies including the NSF in the USA. Between 2002 and 2004 I developed the theory and practice of Testability Transformation, a method for improving software testing by transforming the system under test. My work on Testability Transformation was funded by the EPSRC project of the same name which I led and which was ranked number one by the panel that considered it. It was also funded by two development grants from DaimlerChrysler in Berlin. This work is now being developed by several academic and industrial sites in Europe, the USA and the Far East. The work also led to the development of the Vada variable dependence analysis tool, which as used by DaimlerChrysler and others in the optimization of their software testing process. I have given invited keynotes on Testability Transformation in 2007, 2008 and 2011.

Teaching Summary

I've taught courses on a wide range of topic in Software Engineering at every level and in almost all parts of the the HE sector (former poly, non aligned University, 94 group University and Russell Group University). I've also given training courses to industry on several different topics on Software Engineering.

In 1996 I co-wrote an introductory textbook on Programming in C++ (269pp) aimed at beginners. Approx. 5,000 copies sold (1996-2006).

In 1998 I wrote a study guide (116pp) for the Software Engineering and Development module of the University of London External Programme in Computing and Information Systems (University of London press, 1999, ISBN 07187 1587X).

In 1999 I wrote a study guide (110pp) for the Introduction to Computing module of the University of London External Programme in Computing and Information Systems.

In January 2001 I co–developed and presented a one-week series of industry seminars and lectures to Motorola employees as part of an M.Sc. module on software verification, run by the University of Bath.

In 2006 I received a King’s College Teaching Excellence Award.

In 2009 I received a King’s College Supervisory Excellence Award.

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