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

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Prue Hyman On ‘Hopes Dashed?’

For Scoop Review of Books, Alison McCulloch interviewed Prue Hyman about her new book, part of the BWB Texts series, Hopes Dashed? The Economics of Gender Inequality More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

“Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>

ALSO:

Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news