Edinburgh Research Explorer

Perdita Stevens

Personal Chair in Mathematics of Software Engineering

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Area of Expertise

Research expertisesoftware engineering

Research Interests

My interests include aspects of software engineering and aspects of theoretical computer science.  Especially, I am interested in software design: what good design is, how people do it, how and to what extent tools can help.  Currently, I am mostly interested in mathematical aspects of model-driven development, especially bidirectional model transformations.  My main affiliation is with the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science.

Qualifications

1992PhD in Mathematics, University of Warwick
 Thesis title: Integral forms for Weyl modules of GL(2,Q)
1988MSc in Mathematics, University of Warwick
1987BA in Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Biography

Professor Stevens began her career as a mathematician, specialising in algebra first at King's College, Cambridge, and then at the University of Warwick.  She went on to work as a software engineer for several years, before joining the (then) Department of Computer Science at Edinburgh in 1994.  She worked on model-checking of concurrent systems, contributing both to theory and to tool-building; on reengineering of legacy systems; and since the late 1990s, on the use of models in software development.  From 2000-2006 she held an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship on "Supporting Software"; she was promoted to Reader in 2003 and Professor of Mathematics of Software Engineering in 2014.

Aiming, ultimately, to help software developers get more value from modelling, Professor Stevens has pioneered the study of bidirectional model transformations (bx), whose purpose is to maintain consistency between different models that are used by various experts in the course of software development.  She is interested in what guarantees a bx tool would have to offer to make it possible to use such a tool effectively in agile software development; for example, what precisely does it mean that the tool should enforce consistency on the models without making any unnecessary changes?  From 2013-2016 she is leading a research project jointly with Oxford to study this Least Change property of bx.  She is on the editorial boards of journals including "Theoretical Computer Science" and "Software and Systems Modelling" and has been a member of over 50 Programme Committees; she has chaired 5 PCs and the steering committees of ETAPS (2004-7) and Bx (2013-6). She was an invited speaker most recently at BCTCS'17.

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