PhD student program at Johannes Kepler University Linz on Software Systems Engineering, Austria

Publish Date: Jul 08, 2016

Deadline: Jul 31, 2016


The Institute for Software Systems Engineering at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria is offering a PhD student position on an FWF-funded project under the supervision of Dr. Christoph Mayr-Dorn and Prof. Alexander Egyed.

The project “C4S – Coordination-centric Change and Consistency Support” focuses on supporting change impact analysis during the development of complex software by exploiting developer activities and interactions together with traditional software artifact traceability links.

Project Abstract 

The research proposal addresses change impact analysis in development efforts of complex, safety-critical software (e.g., air traffic control systems). Such software typically exhibits a long lifecycle, involves various engineers (beyond pure software developers) across the entire development lifecycle and is subject to countless changes in the scope of maintenance and evolution activities. Under such conditions proper impact analysis needs to go beyond knowing which artifacts are affected (traditional traceability).

Successfully implementing a change requires awareness which engineers to involve and why, how these engineers should be coordinated and communicate, and how these engineers should correctly propagate changes. Hence, what is an efficient and effective way to support engineers in change impact analysis and consistency maintenance? Pure top-down specified processes are insufficient to provide actionable guidance. This proposed work, therefore, investigates methods and techniques for bottom-up determining the underlying communication, coordination, and joint work relations among engineers, artifacts, and tasks. Monitoring such low-level events enables a holistic bottom-up activity view that constitutes the basis for extensive change management support:

(i) Dependency Awareness and Consistency Support: provides sophisticated artifact dependencies and recommendations for maintaining artifact consistency beyond core development activities.

(ii) Coordination Know-how Learning: generalizes and extracts insight into which coordination structures prevailed, how much collaboration occurred, and which expertise was involved, thus enabling to deduct how these properties affect the duration, quality outcome, and resource utilization of various development activities required for change implementation; and

(iii) Coordination Guidance: provides actionable recommendations for a given change management instance based on previously learned best practices. Key research questions address the challenges of dealing with incomplete, incorrect, and uncertain information in detail.

About the institution 

The Institute for Software Systems Engineering (ISSE) is a leading research institute on software and systems engineering. Its mission is to teach and to conduct basic and applied research on software development with a focus on the increasingly vital role of modeling. The work of the institute covers a wide area of software development, from requirements capture, architecture and design, testing, to maintenance; including software modeling (consistency, traceability, impact of change), product line engineering (and other forms of variability), requirements engineering, and software processes.

ISSE has a strong track record for working on software-intensive systems in interdisciplinary domains. Members of ISSE worked extensively with companies such as BMF, IBM, Northrop Grumman Company, Sarnoff, Boeing Company, Siemens VAI, Mitre Corporation, and others. We have a strong track record in publications and citations. According to Microsoft Scholar, the JKU is among the Top 3% of software engineering institutions in the world.

The prospective PhD student will work at the intersection of collaborative software development and model-based software engineering. The student should be interested in conducting empirical research (conducting interviews, observing collaboration among engineers, repository mining), data analysis (extracting dependencies from observations), and prototyping proof-of-concept recommendation tools.

Eligibility for employment:

  • a Master’s (MSc) degree in Computer Science or a closely related area,
  • fluency in written and spoken English,
  • ability to work in a team as well as to structure work activities independently,
  • willingness to relocate to Linz.

To apply

  • send a letter of motivation (max. 1 page),
  • detailed CV,
  • writing sample (e.g., a published or submitted paper, or Master thesis),
  • one reference letter from a former supervisor or collaborator, and
  • a copy of the degree certificate as a single PDF to

Knowledge of the German language is not required.

The position is available for 3 years starting on Sep 1. 2016 (or as soon as possible thereafter). The gross salary is 2,045.10 EUR per month (14x per year) according to the personnel cost rates defined by the FWF for Doctoral candidates (which correspond to University employment of 30h/week with the remaining 10h/week intended for independent writing of the material leading towards the PhD thesis).

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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