As an experimental computer scientist, the goal of my research is to design, implement, and rigorously evaluate techniques and tools that support the creation of useful, dependable, and efficient software. My research addresses the challenges within the fields of software engineering, software testing, and computer systems. I conduct this research in collaboration with undergraduates at Allegheny College, graduate students and professors at other universities, and colleagues in industry.

My research is empirical in nature because it involves the application of the scientific method to formulate problem statements, carry out experiments, take observations, statistically analyze and visualize the data sets, and draw conclusions based on the experimental results. Each research project focuses on the development and evaluation of software artifacts that can be used in both empirical studies and real-world practice by undergraduate and graduate students, software engineers, and computer scientists in both academia and industry. In addition to supporting my professional service, my research also results in award-winning and frequently cited research papers, oft-complimented presentations, and useful free and open-source software.

My research has concentrated on several important areas, examples of which are summarized in the following list that references key papers.

  • Database Testing: Since the database application is a complex artifact that must be verified, my PhD dissertation (Kapfhammer2007d) presented an approach for testing database applications; a notable paper derived from my dissertation is (Kapfhammer2003)  . My work has also focused on testing the schema of a relational database, with (McMinn2016a) and (McMinn2015) being examples of papers.
  • Web Testing: In response to the prevalence and complexity of mobile-ready web sites, my research has developed automated techniques for checking these sites. Some examples of papers describing approaches that have found defects in live, production web sites (Walsh2015)  , and (Walsh2017)  , and (Walsh2017a)  .
  • Mutation Testing: Given the challenges associated with evaluating the quality of a test suite, my research has designed efficient ways to perform test assessment through mutation analysis. Considering both programs and relational database schemas, some examples of papers (Just2012b)  , (Wright2014)  , and (McMinn2018)  .
  • Regression Testing: Since software is often incrementally developed, my work on regression testing has created automated ways to efficiently and effectively run test suites for complex programs. Some examples of papers that present and evaluate regression testing techniques (Walcott2006)  , (Lin2014)  , and (Lin2017)  .
  • Search-Based Testing: Using a fitness function as a guide to a suitable solution, search-based methods have shown promise in a many domains. My work has focused on creating frameworks to support the development of search-based tools, with (McMinn2016b) being one paper. Papers such as (Conrad2010a) and (Kukunas2010a) describe and assess other search-based solutions to software engineering challenges.
  • Research Methods: My surveys of the research landscape in the field of software testing provide a starting point for individuals exploring this field, with (Kapfhammer2004) and (Kapfhammer2010) being examples of papers. Moreover, papers like (Kapfhammer2016) and (McMinn2016) illustrate ways in which I have articulated a research agenda for the field of software engineering. Finally, I have written papers like (Alsharif2018a) and (Alsharif2018b) that explain how to replicate my research results.

Do you work in one of these areas and are you interested in collaborating with me on a project? If so, then please contact me with your ideas.

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