PhD Call for Applications

Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering

University of Auckland


Find Out More

About


A fully funded Software Engineering PhD scholarship is available for research into developing a technique to automatically test simulations of social network platforms. The successful candidate will join the research group of Dr. Valerio Terragni at the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering, University of Auckland, New Zealand. This PhD project is part of a newly funded research program on ‘Generating Metamorphic Relations for WESs’, funded by Facebook (info here). The candidate and Dr. Valerio Terragni will collaborate with the co-PIs of the research programme: Dr. Aitor Arrieta (Mondragon University) and Prof. Paolo Tonella (Università della Svizzera italiana). It is expected that during the PhD the candidate will visit the institutions of the co-Pis for one semester.

The candidate will undertake world class research in the topics of Software Testing, Software Engineering, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. In particular, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to the fundamental understanding of metamorphic testing applied to social network testing. Metamorphic testing is a technique to alleviate the oracle problem. It is based on the idea that often it is simpler to reason about relations between inputs/outputs of a program, than it is to fully understand or formalize its input-output behaviour. Facebook has recently deployed MIA (Metamorphic Interaction Automaton) to test simulations of the FaceBook platform. MIA relies on manually crafted metamorphic relations to expose issues in the Facebook platform. The aim of the research programme is to automatically generate metamorphic relations by analysing the behaviour of social network simulations.

The successful PhD applicant will receive a stipend of 36,500 NZD per annum for 3 years, the university tuition fees are covered by the fund. The PhD will start in 2022 the starting date is flexible and negotiable.

Eligibility


Applicants should have a bachelor degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering and a MSc or postgraduate Diploma with high grades.

We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record, a good Software Engineering background, and the ability to work well in a team. Candidates should satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at The University of Auckland and applicants should ensure that they can satisfy the English language requirements. For more information about the entry requirements of the University of Auckland visit here

About The University of Auckland


The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s leading university and one of the world’s major research universities. It is internationally recognized for excellence and was ranked 85th in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2022, making it a prestigious place for a PhD. The University’s student population includes 7,000 international students representing over 120 countries.

How To Apply


Please send an email before October 26, 2021 to Dr. Valerio Terragni: v.terragni@auckland.ac.nz with “PhD scholarship in WESs” in the subject line. Please include the following information:
  • A full curriculum vitae, including your university transcripts.
  • A one-page cover letter detailing why you are interested in this project and why you are interested in doing a PhD.
  • The names of at least two people who are prepared to act as referees
  • [OPTIONAL] Demonstration of very good Software Engineering skills (e.g., Github profile with public repositories, coursework)

Important - application steps and information

For applicants who are not NZ Citizens or Permanent Residents, we recommend you check the NZ Immigration website for updates related to Covid19 restrictions on entry to New Zealand: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19 Nevertheless, it is possible to start the PhD remotely while waiting for the NZ Covid19 restrictions to be loosened.

Publications Related to This Research Program


[1] John Ahlgren, Maria Eugenia Berezin, Kinga Bojarczuk, Elena Dulskyte, Inna Dvortsova,Johann George, Natalija Gucevska, Mark Harman, Ralf Lämmel, Erik Meijer, Silvia Sapora, and Justin Spahr-Summers. WES: Agent-Based User Interaction Simulation on Real Infrastructure. In Proceedings of the IEEE/ACM 42nd International Conference onSoftware Engineering Workshops (ICSEW 2020), page 276–284, 2020.

[2] John Ahlgren, Maria Eugenia Berezin, Kinga Bojarczuk, Elena Dulskyte, Inna Dvortsova, Johann George, Natalija Gucevska, Mark Harman, Maria Lomeli, Erik Meijer, SilviaSapora, and Justin Spahr-Summers. Testing Web Enabled Simulation at Scale Using Metamorphic Testing. In Proceedings of the 43rd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering, SE in Practice (ICSE-SEIP 2021), pages 140–149, 2021.

[3] John Ahlgren, Kinga Bojarczuk, Sophia Drossopoulou, Inna Dvortsova, Johann George, Natalija Gucevska, Mark Harman, Maria Lomeli, Simon M Lucas, Erik Meijer, et al. Facebook’s Cyber–Cyber and Cyber–Physical Digital Twins. Proceedings of The Inter.Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE 2021), 2021.

[4] Jon Ayerdi, Sergio Segura, Aitor Arrieta, Goiuria Sagardui, and Maite Arratibel. QoS-aware Metamorphic Testing: An Elevation Case Study. InProceedings of the 31st IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE 2020), pages 104–114. IEEE, 2020, PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11984/1849

[5] Jon Ayerdi, Valerio Terragni, Aitor Arrieta, Paolo Tonella, Goiuria Sagardui, and Maite Arratibel. Generating Metamorphic Relations for Cyber-Physical Systems with Genetic Programming: An Industrial Case Study. In Proceedings of the 29th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2021), 2021, PDF: https://cutt.ly/wmva0nj

[6] Valerio Terragni, Gunel Jahangirova, Paolo Tonella, and Mauro Pezzè. Evolutionary Improvement of Assertion Oracles. In Proceedings of the 28th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE 2020), page 1178–1189, 2020, PDF: https://cutt.ly/2mvpKyo

[7] Valerio Terragni, Gunel Jahangirova, Paolo Tonella, and Mauro Pezzè. GAssert: A Fully Automated Tool to Improve Assertion Oracles. InProceedings of the 43nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering, Demonstration Track(ICSE 2021), 2021, PDF: https://cutt.ly/WmvauNA

[8] Valerio Terragni, Gunel Jahangirova, Mauro Pezzè, and Paolo Tonella. Improving Assertion Oracles with Evolutionary Computation. In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, Hot Off the Press track (GECCO 2021), 2021, PDF: https://cutt.ly/1mvpcqd