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.
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.
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).
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