LONDON A team of researchers led by Professor Mark Harman at King's College London have been awarded a grant of £2.7million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to use search techniques inspired by nature to automate large parts of the software engineering process.
The project is a collaboration with Birmingham and York universities, Daimler Chrysler, Motorola, IBM and colleagues from U.S., France, Italy and Germany; in all, a total of 26 researchers are involved.
Professor Harman, head of King's Software Engineering group in the Department of Computer Science, said, “This is a major investment in this exciting new approach to software engineering. Instead of having to design systems in full gory detail, our aim is to exploit techniques inspired by nature so that the machine searches for good solutions to satisfy our design constraints. The human merely has to describe these constraints to teach the machine what a good solution should look like.”
The project aims to remove a lot of the tedious leg work from current software engineering practice, allowing systems to be built better, faster and cheaper with human effort will focus on guiding the automated search, rather than performing it.
This project will address key issues in software engineering, including scalability, robustness, feedback and insight. It will also study theoretical foundations of search-based algorithms and apply the insights gained to develop more effective and efficient algorithms for large and complex software engineering problems.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the U.K. Government's leading funding agency for research and training in engineering and the physical sciences. It invests around £500 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.