Professional Biography

My professional experience spans six countries, and a variety of institutions focused on technology transfer, applied research, and education. I like to share my time and attention between addressing challenging engineering problems and longer term research activities. A thorough understanding of state-of-the-art, engineering practice is what helps make my research activities more relevant.

I am currently the lead scientist of the
Software Verification and Validation department at the University of Luxembourg’s Centre for ICT Security, Reliability, and Trust (SnT) and the vice-director of the centre. My main responsibility is to lead research and innovation activities in the area of software verification, validation, and testing, with a strong emphasis on cyber-physical systems and model-driven approaches. In the last 15 years or so, I have adopted a somewhat unusual way of running research projects. Instead of identifying research problems solely by reviewing the research literature or through discussions with academic colleagues, I focus on analyzing problems in direct collaboration with industry partners, assess the state of the art with respect to the identified problems, and devise novel, practical solutions through research. I then try them out in realistic settings and reflect on my experience to propose refinements in an iterative fashion. Though it is a common way to proceed in many engineering research disciplines, due to mostly historical reasons, this is not so in software engineering. My goal is to increase the relevance of my research and therefore its impact. My current industry partners span various application domains, including automotive, satellite, and finance. Our department is generously funded by an ERC Advanced grant from the EU (the most prestigious European individual grant) and a PEARL grant from the FNR, Luxembourg.

Until January 2012, I was the leader of the
Certus software V&V center at the Simula Research Laboratory and a professor at the University of Oslo, Norway. Over a period of four years, my colleagues and I built the Certus center from scratch in collaboration with industry partners, including Cisco systems, FMC, Kongsberg Maritime, Schlumberger, and others. In 2011, based on a nation-wide evaluation, the centre was one of five research groups in Norway to be ranked "excellent" (highest score), among 62 groups in the area of ICT. I received the “Decade of Achievement” award from Simula Research Laboratory in 2011.

From July 1999 to July 2008, I was a Professor and Canada Research Chair with the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where I founded the
Software Quality Engineering Laboratory (SQUALL)  and had the great pleasure of collaborating with Yvan Labiche. Before that I was the first software quality engineering department head at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE, headed by Dieter Rombach), Germany, and a Software Engineering group leader at the Computer Research Institute of Montreal (CRIM), Montreal, Canada. I also worked for five years as a research scientist, under the supervision of Victor Basili, for the Software Engineering Laboratory, which was a consortium of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CSC, and the University of Maryland. The applied nature of the research I conduct stems from my  professional debut as a software engineer in the trenches, designing software systems for CISI Ingénierie (now CS Communication and Systems), France, in a software engineering division which was at the time managed by Annie Combelles.

I have been on the program, steering, or organization committees of many international, IEEE/ACM conferences such as ICSE, FSE/ESEC, MODELS, ICST, ISSTA, ICSM, ISSRE, and ESEM. I currently serve on the steering committees of ICSE and MODELS. I was elevated by the IEEE Computer Society to the rank of
IEEE Fellow (2010). I am/was also on the editorial boards of Software and System Modeling (Springer), Software Testing, Verification, and Reliability (Wiley), and IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (2000-2004). Until 2017, I was the co-editor in chief of Empirical Software Engineering (Springer), a journal that promotes industry-relevant software engineering research.

I acted as a consultant to several industrial and government organizations including Alcatel, Siemens health services and mobile telecommunications, Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace, the French National Research Center in Telecommunications (CNET), and the French National Space Agency (CNES). I was part of  the committee in charge of improving testing and reliability engineering processes after the explosion (due to a software failure) of the Ariane 5 ESA launcher in 1996. More recently, while in Canada and Norway, I have been involved in projects with companies such as Nortel Networks (Canada), IBM-Rational (Canada), Siemens Corporate Research (US), Telcordia (US), ABB Corporate Research (Norway), Telenor (Norway), Cisco (Norway), Det Norske Veritas (DNV, Norway), WesternGeco (Schlumberger group, Norway), TOMRA (Norway), and Kongsberg (Norway). My current activities with industry partners in Luxembourg can be found on the
Software Verification and Validation Department’s web pages.

My research interests in software engineering include:

  • Testing, verification, and validation of software systems
  • Model-driven software engineering
  • Quality assurance and control based on quantitative methods and measurement
  • Applications of machine learning and evolutionary computation to software engineering

I received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Geophysics and Computer Systems Engineering (Ingénierie des systèmes informatiques) from the University of
Paris VI, France, in 1986 and 1988, respectively. I received the Ph.D degree in Computer Science, with high honors (félicitations du jury), from the University of Paris XI, Orsay, France, in April 1994. I am a registered Canadian Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) registered in Ontario, Canada.

I was granted the IEEE Computer Society Harlan Mills award in 2012 for contributions to Model-based Verification and Testing, and elected Reliability Engineer of the year 2013 by the IEEE Reliability Society.

Personal Biography

Though my degrees are from France, I did most of my Ph.D. thesis work at U. of Maryland (USA) and I was privileged to have
Victor Basili as an advisor. He has been a mentor, a role model, and close friend since then and has influenced my life in many ways. As someone once said, being a Ph.D. advisor is a "tenured" position, for life. ;-)
Like Vic, I try to instill enthusiasm and the passion of research into my graduate students' minds. This is the very reason why I am doing this job, to learn from and interact with students. This is where I find my energy and motivation, in seeing students mature and grow into talented engineers and researchers.

I am also Canadian and as far as I am concerned, there is nothing better than a crisp, sunny and snowy winter day, though I still have a weakness for pungent cheeses. (well, nobody is perfect and I did not have to give it up to become a "canuck".)

Favorite Quote

“Stop the numbers game! — Counting papers slows the rate of scientific progress."
Stop the numbers game, Dave Parnas, Communications of the ACM, November 2007