Professor Andrea Zisman
School of Informatics
To understand how the research of Professor Zisman into software and service engineering affects the world we live in, one only has to cross the road at a set of traffic lights, carry out a bank transaction, make a travel booking, or engage in any one of the many other activities that service-oriented computing makes possible. Based in the Department of Computing within the School of Informatics, Professor Zisman explores how software systems that are composed of services can become more adaptable, secure, effective and sustainable.
Professor Zisman has investigated several aspects of service-oriented software systems, from their development to their replacement once in operation. One area that she has been exploring recently concerns the adaptation of these systems. This growing area of research seeks to maximise capacity for change in systems, so that where an external situation demands that a system is adapted, the problems associated with that adaptation have already been anticipated and resolved, avoiding a system failure or a disruption in service to the user. Professor Zisman's research and that of the research staff and doctoral students she supervises is helping to ensure that service-oriented software systems are more adaptable to a range of external situations, from user demands and feedback to changing business requirements.
While Professor Zisman's research into adaptability seeks to minimise problems in software systems once they are in operation, her work on secure software engineering, a relatively new field in computing, is focused on the design and validation of software systems. More specifically, her research in this area suggests that software engineers should consider the security characteristics of systems at the early stages of the software development life-cycle, rather than (as has generally been the case) once the system has been built. Building on her expertise in secure software engineering, Professor Zisman has more recently been exploring trust issues in software services by considering how trusted services and providers can be identified by users around the world. She was awarded a Google Research Award in 2011 to support the work of the Department of Computing in this increasingly important field.
Many of Professor Zisman's long-standing research interests are highly relevant to the emergence of cloud computing, which involves the use of a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data. Issues of trust and security, two areas that Professor Zisman focuses on, are particularly crucial. Cloud computing also represents a key element in an area that Professor Zisman plans to explore further: that of 'green' software engineering. She is developing research proposals that consider how software engineering can become more sustainable and carbon neutral.