Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Software expert Otago’s new Professor of Information Science


Monday 14 October 2013

Software expert Otago’s new Professor of Information Science

A leading information systems and software engineering researcher has joined the University of Otago as Professor of Information Science within the Otago Business School.

Professor Stephen MacDonell was previously Director of AUT University’s Software Engineering Research Laboratory.

His research interests sit at the intersection of the sub-disciplines of information systems and software engineering and deal with questions relating to how and why software systems are developed, managed, used and maintained.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says she is pleased that Professor MacDonell, who is both an Otago graduate and former staff member, has returned to his home institution to share the considerable knowledge and skills he has built up in his field of research and teaching.

After gaining BCom (Hons) and Master of Commerce degrees from Otago, Professor MacDonell undertook a PhD in software engineering at the University of Cambridge.

Following the completion of his studies at the end of 1992, he joined Otago’s Department of Information Science as a postdoctoral fellow and rose to Associate Professor by the time he left to join AUT University in 2002.

There he took up the role of foundation Head of the School of Information Technology and two years later was appointed Director of AUT’s Software Engineering Research Laboratory.

Professor MacDonell has published several book chapters, dozens of refereed journal articles and is on the editorial board of the international journal Information and Software Technology. As well as developing a number of national and international research collaborations with colleagues in the United Kingdom, Canada and South America, he has also carried out applied research and development work for major organisations in New Zealand and abroad.

He was a co-principal investigator in a recent five-year, multi-million dollar Foundation of Research Science and Technology project on software process and product improvement.

As part of his new role in the Department of Information Science, Professor MacDonell is building a research group focused on understanding how to turn challenged software systems projects into successes.

“All projects have risks and challenges — but it is how those risks and challenges are managed that determines their outcome,” he says.

“While we have a general sense of what leads software systems projects to fail, we don’t have a corresponding step-by-step recipe that can guarantee they succeed.

“We know that people are key; they are influential at every point from project concept through development to delivery and use. They are also sometimes irrational, and there are often political and financial drivers that mean a ‘recipe’ approach simply will not work.”

Professor MacDonell says that understanding how and why software systems succeed requires placing at least as much emphasis on the people and social structures that exist around systems as is put on the technologies and tools involved.

“Software systems need to be seen not as fixed, engineered objects that can be tightly controlled; but as evolving, complex, interactive, and highly contextual – basically they should be thought of as information ecosystems.”

Professor MacDonell says one of Otago’s great assets is its extended network of former students, many of whom are now driving business innovations locally, nationally and internationally.

“These alumni sit on both sides of the software/system ‘divide’: those developing and deploying systems; and those using them. In my view this represents a tremendous resource, one that can add real value to our research and our teaching.

“One of my key goals is to engage with them and their colleagues, to learn from them about the challenges they face and the needs they have, and to contribute positively to their future software systems projects through both our research and the graduates we produce.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Opera: Happy 70th Birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news