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Personal profile

Biography

Robert Merkel received his PhD from Swinburne University of Technology in 2005, and subsequently worked there as a postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer in software engineering. He joined the Clayton School of Information Technology in 2011. His primary research focus is software testing, which he has studied from a number of perspectives, including the theoretical, empirical, and with an increasing interest in the human aspects. Prior to commencing his PhD, Robert spent two years in industry working on open-source financial software.

Community service

Robert has written extensively for The Conversation and other media outlets on topics relating to software engineering, including software security and ethics in engineering.

Research interests

Robert's research is concentrated on the theory and practice of software testing.

Within this broad theme, he has developed a number of techniques for improving the fault-detection efficiency of random testing.

Another interest is the mathematics of the relationship about probabilistic information about failure likelihood, theoretical improvements in fault-detection possible through such information, and the actual performance level of the current state of the art. To provide empirical data for such analyses, he is also interested in automated collection and classification of fault information in commercially-deployed software systems.

He is also currently looking into the human characteristics of proficient software testers, and whether these characteristics are in any way distinctive from other IT professionals.

Monash teaching commitment

Dr Robert Merkel has experience as the Chief Examiner for the following units in the Faculty of IT:

  • FIT3042 System tools and programming languages
  • FIT3140 Advanced programming
  • FIT4004 System validation and verification, quality and standards

Robert has experience as the Lecturer for the following units in the Faculty of IT:

  • FIT1010 Introduction to software engineering
  • FIT3042 System tools and programming languages
  • FIT3140 Advanced programming
  • FIT4002 Software engineering studio project
  • FIT4004 System validation and verification, quality and standards

Keywords

  • Fault Analysis
  • Random Testing
  • Software Testing
  • Testing of Embedded Systems

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Research Output 2004 2016

A cost-effective random testing method for programs with non-numeric inputs

Barus, A. C., Chen, T. Y., Kuo, F-C., Liu, H., Merkel, R. & Rothermel, G., 1 Dec 2016, In : IEEE Transactions on Computers. 65, 12, p. 3509-3523 15 p., 7442567.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

An empirical investigation of personality traits of software testers

Kanij, T., Merkel, R. G. & Grundy, J., 2015, Eighth International Workshop on Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering (CHASE 2015). Begel, A., Prikladnicki, R., Dittrich, Y., de Souza, C., Sarma, A. & Athavale, S. (eds.). Piscataway NJ USA: IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, p. 1 - 7 7 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

Dynamic test reconfiguration for composite web services

Cooray, M. B., Hamlyn-Harris, J. H. & Merkel, R. G., 2015, In : IEEE Transactions on Services Computing. 8, 4, p. 576 - 585 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

An empirical study to review and revise job responsibilities of software testers

Kanij, T., Merkel, R. G. & Grundy, J., 2014, Proceedings 2014 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC 2014). Fleming, S. D., Fish, A. & Scaffidi, C. (eds.). Piscataway NJ USA: IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, p. 89 - 92 4 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

A preliminary survey of factors affecting software testers

Kanij, T., Merkel, R. G. & Grundy, J., 2014, 23rd Australasian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC 2014). Steel, J. & Zhu, L. (eds.). Los Alamitos CA USA: IEEE Computer Society, p. 180 - 189 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review