Software Engineering Research Cluster

The Software Engineering (SERCh) Research Cluster performs high-quality research in multiple areas of software engineering including model-driven engineering, data visualisation, human-centric computing, IoT (Internet of Things) software engineering and cloud software development.

Major research areas

Our team is focused on state-of-the-art practical and applied research in software engineering, in collaboration with various high-calibre industry partners. We do ground-breaking research into applied software engineering practice, industry and project-focused work, and research and development.

Cloud engineering

Our leading work in this area includes cloud-based workflow systems, ensuring workflow consistency, data placement, scalable computing platforms for diverse application domains, and tools and techniques for modelling, creating, deploying, securing, testing and maintaining advanced cloud-based software systems, including Blockchain systems.

Software tools and model-driven engineering (MDE)

Our research in software tools and MDE includes research on (and tools incorporating) domain-specific languages (DSL), domain-specific visual languages (DSVL), requirements engineering, formal requirements modelling and model checking. We're also working on and building tools for software testing, including usability engineering, and software evolution and maintenance.

Data play

This includes broader areas of data cleaning, wrangling, harmonisation, and visualisation techniques and tools. It also includes a software engineering take on machine learning and analysis.

IoT software engineering

Our research on IoT paradigms includes the design and use of smart devices and sensors, data-capture technologies and the novel application of them in challenging complex scenarios, e.g. health, aged care, smart cities and agriculture. Our research in the IoT area also involves investigating and improving security of such devices and applications.

Exemplar projects

Domain-specific visual language tools

Domain-specific visual languages (DVSL) support the modelling of complex systems using visual models better suited to target end-user cognitive processes and understanding. We've developed many DSVL tools along with several platforms for developing DSVL tools – DSVL meta-tools – including MViews, JViews, JComposer, Pounamu, Marama and Horus.

Model-driven engineering tools

Model-driven engineering (MDE) uses high-level domain models to generate code and/or configurations of target software systems. We've been developing tools that use DSVLs to generate a range of systems via model-driven development techniques to enhance quality and productivity. Much of the work has been done with industrial partners in the health, utility, business process and web engineering domains.

Smart software for ageing, social services and health

We're looking at ways to improve the delivery of health and social services using new software technologies. In particular, we’re interested in the use of in-home and in-care sensors, human-centric interaction devices such as held-held, mobile and iPads, artificial intelligence, software-as-service and Web 2.0 social media concepts in the social services and health primary care domains.

Software security engineering, especially for cloud computing

Our research on software security engineering techniques and tools includes (but is not limited to) model-driven approaches to generating security solutions from high-level definitions, domain-specific languages to augment requirements and design notations to capture security properties and their cross-cutting impacts, and platform-level security including autonomic virtual machine monitoring and protection. Example projects include: formal modelling and analysis of safety-critical systems, model-driven engineering of scientific applications, adaptive cloud computing security, virtualisation and cloud computing IaaS security.

Data integration

With the new attention and increased use of data-capturing technologies and IoT, the role of methods and processes has been highlighted. This includes procedures to clean, integrate, and harmonise data for use in data analysis and visualisation. Examples of such approaches are Harmoniser+ for harmonising cross-jurisdictional survey data.

Major research projects

Formal specifications collaboration with Ford

This project aims to invent new techniques to extract formal notations from the textual requirements, and also invent new progress requirements quality-checking techniques.

Requirements analysis collaboration with Thales Australia

This project aims to invent new requirements specification techniques that can be used in safety-critical systems to meet DO-178C standards.

Internet of Things applications collaboration with Unisono

This project aims to invent a new smart home system for the elderly. The system uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to learn normal behaviours and then detect anomalies, e.g. detecting falls or that someone isn't in bed and medication reminders.

Research funding

  • Domain-specific visual languages for big data analytics applications
    Research team: John Grundy, Mohamed Abdelrazek, Qiang He and John Hosking
    Funding: ARC Discovery, $340,000 2017–2019
  • Investigating how to build secure and energy-efficient mobile cloud apps
    Research team: Xiao Liu and Yong Xiang
    Funding: Industry, $50,000 (Industry), 2017–2018
  • Extraction of formal specification from Ford requirements
    Research team: John Grundy and Mohamed Abdelrazek
    Funding: Ford Motor Company, $163,061, 2017–2019
  • Development of a national food and beverage price monitoring system (Price Tracker)
    Research team: Kathryn Backholer, Iman Avazpour, Adrian Cameron, Tony LaMontagne, Anna Peeters and Catherine Bennett
    Funding: Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant (ID: 101674), $74,000, 2018

Our staff


Professor Peter W. EklundComputer science, distributed systems, intelligent information systems, applied artificial intelligence, formal concept analysis
Dr Iman Avazpour

Software engineering, model-driven engineering, embedded systems, data integration, information visualisation


Name Expertise
Associate Professor Andrew CainSoftware engineering, computer science education
Associate Professor Smart software systems, model-driven engineering, Internet of Things
Dr Feifei ChenCloud computing, fog computing, software engineering, service-oriented computing, software testing, green computing
Dr Niroshinie FernandoPervasive computing, smart cities, mobile computing, data science, natural language processing, fog and edge computing
Dr Xiao LiuSoftware engineering, workflow system, cloud computing, social network

Associate members

Name Expertise
Professor Rajesh VasaInnovation, software evolution, automated software engineering, tools

Contact us

Professor Peter W. Eklund
+61 3 9244 6860
Email Prof. Eklund

Dr Iman Avazpour
+61 3 9246 8394
Email Dr. Avazpour