Swarm Intelligence and Agent Based Support for Software Engineering (NOPPENU16SF)
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 Information can change and new information can surface, rendering initial analysis and formal models outdated.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.
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 http://www.uea.ac.uk/pgresearch/pgrfees.
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.
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