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Swarm Intelligence and Agent Based Support for Software Engineering (NOPPENU16SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Noppen
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Modern software development is edging towards ever larger and more complex systems. Developers are consequently faced with the challenge of collecting vast amounts of information, such as requirements or design documents, and manage this effectively. The sheer amount of information that needs to be managed as well incompleteness, ambiguity and partiality severely hinders successful development. Dealing with this by analysing, correcting and complementing the available information is time intensive and error prone.

Software developers have tried to deal with large amounts of information by breaking it down into manageable chunks and employing automated analysis techniques based on, for example, natural language processing techniques. When faced with ambiguous, incomplete or partial information where detailed information is required, resolution is typically enforced by using formal specifications. However, these solutions typically are not prepared for the volatility of information and its details during software development. Information can change and new information can surface, rendering initial analysis and formal models outdated.

This PhD project aims to create a flexible and (semi-)autonomous information analysis framework that supports software developers in collecting information, identifying holes and ambiguity and offering mechanisms for storing and adjusting such partial information. The framework will consist of a number of software agents collaborating in collecting and analysing software development information to highlight inconsistencies, or determine the risks of decisions that developers are considering based on the state of the information that is available.

The PhD project will involve examining information managing and modelling techniques, researching agent technologies that can be used to reason about, and implementing automated tool support to perform information analysis and allow for the integration of new agents that support novel information management techniques. The project will focus on using swarm intelligence to create focussed agents and combining them to a larger intelligence on software engineering.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) P. Faratin, C. Sierra and N. R. Jennings (2000) “Using similarity criteria to make negotiation trade-offs” Proc. 4th Int. Conf on Multi-Agent Systems, Boston, 119-126.
ii) N.R. Jennings (2000) “On Agent-Oriented Software Engineering” Artificial Intelligence 117 (2) 277-296.
iii) N. R. Jennings, P. Faratin, T. J. Norman, P. O’Brien and B. Odgers (2000) “Autonomous agents for business process management” Int. J. of Applied Artificial Intelligence 14 (2) 145-190.
iv) N. Vulkan and N. R. Jennings (2000) “Efficient mechanisms for the supply of services in multi-agent environments” Int J. of Decision Support Systems 28 (1-2) 5-19.
v) P. Srivasta and K. Baby (2010) “Automated Software Testing Using Metaheuristic Techniques based on Ant Colony Optimization” Proceedings of the 2010 International Symposium on Electronic System Design, pp 235-240

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