Future seminars

Software Innovation New Zealand organises regular seminars that you can attend virtually. If you want to be kept informed and join these seminars, please contact us to be added into our mailing list.

Speaker Title Date & time Abstract

Rob O’Callahan
(Pernosco, New Zealand)

The Future of Debugging 25 Mar. 3-4pm Developers spend a lot of time debugging. Lots of research has been done on record-and-replay systems and other advanced debugging tools, but industry adoption has been slow. We’ll talk about ongoing efforts to improve debugging in practice in the context of the “rr” and “Pernosco” debuggers. rr is a state-of-the-art open-source record/replay/reverse debugger for C/C++/Rust on Linux which is seeing a lot of adoption. Pernosco is a considerably more ambitious cloud-based omniscient debugger for a similar target market. I will give an overview of the technology behind these debuggers, their strengths and weaknesses, and what we’re learning from the people using (and not using) them.

Bio: Robert O’Callahan obtained a PhD in static program analysis from CMU in 2001, advised by Daniel Jackson and Jeannette Wing. He worked on dynamic analysis at IBM Research, then dived into full-time browser engine development for Mozilla for ten years, where he became a Distinguished Engineer and also led the development of rr. In 2016 he left Mozilla to work on debugging full time, cofounding the Pernosco project.

Patrick Lam
(University of Waterloo, Canada)

Knowing your software 29 Apr.
3PM
Whether at the level of phone apps (e.g. a 1* rated app on the Google Play Store) or critical government
systems (e.g. Canada’s fiasco-laden Phoenix government payroll software), observing software failures in the
wild is far easier than it should be. Yet few software developers set out to create faulty software. I will
focus on the gap between expectations and reality in today’s world. I’ll discuss tools and techniques for
specifying and analyzing software (specifications, static and dynamic analysis, and testing), especially in
the context of evolving software systems, and discuss the strengths and opportunities for improvements in
these technologies.

Bio: Patrick Lam is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the
University of Waterloo and a Visiting Scholar at VUW, having just completed his term a Director of Waterloo’s
Software Engineering Program. His research interests focus on static analysis, particularly of
developer-supplied information like annotations and test cases. Patrick has been making a concerted effort to
enjoying New Zealand’s outdoors.

Past Seminars

Speaker Title Date & time Abstract

Robert Biddle
(Carleton University, Canada)

Clickety-Click: Improving Collaborative Software Development 25 Feb.
3-4pm
Successful software involves several different perspectives and sources of expertise. Agile Software
Development emphasizes collaboration, but our studies show many opportunities are missed, and many beneficial
practices are not recognized. In this talk, I will review some of our research findings, and suggest how
better understanding of human behaviour can lead to collaboration, and better software.

Bio: Robert Biddle is a Professor in the School of Computer Science and Institute of
Cognitive Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His research is in Software Design and
Human-Computer Interaction. His current research projects are on usable security, especially authentication
and security decision-making, and on human factors in software design and development. Robert has Bachelors
and Masters degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo in Canada, a PhD from
the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and has diplomas in both childhood and adult education. He has
awards for research, teaching, and graduate mentorship; he is a Commonwealth Scholar, and a Fellow of the New
Zealand Computer Society.