Marian Petre

Professor of Computing

Marian Petre is interested in expertise in software design. Her interdisciplinary research draws on cognitive theory and qualitative research methods to analyze how expert software designers behave and reason when solving design problems. Her research is grounded in empirical studies of actual professional practice in industry.  She has investigated software design from a number of different perspectives, including: cognitive dimensions of notations, a whiteboard tool for design, programming paradigms, graphical and textual notations, software visualisation, disciplines of innovation, and how designers learn effective strategies.  Most recently, she has been studying the integration of software engineering practices into computational science.

Her current projects include:

  • PLOS/Mozilla scientific code review study

Her past projects include:

  • NSF: Studying Professional Software Design
  • Royal Society/Wolfson: Empirical studies of expert design
  • Wolfson: Open Science Laboratory

Most of Marian’s teaching has focused on developing research skills and promoting understanding of the Ph.D. process. Her emphasis is on identifying and articulating strategies and knowledge that others take for granted, and on translating research findings into conceptual direction and focus for teaching.  For example, she and Gordon Rugg co-authored ‘The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research’ and ‘A Gentle Guide to Research Methods’

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