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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

The discursive constitution of software development

Cornut, Francis January 2009 (has links)
The successful development of software continues to be of central interest, both as an academic topic and in professional practice. Consequently, several software development approaches and methodologies have been developed and promoted over the past decades. However, despite the attention given to the subject and the methodical support available, software development and how it should be practiced continue to be controversial. This thesis examines how beliefs about software development come to be socially established as legitimate, and how they come to constitute software development practices in an organization. It is argued that the emergence of a dominant way of conceiving of and practicing software development is the outcome of power relations that permeate the discursive practices of organizational actors. The theoretical framework of this study is guided by Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence and organizational discourse theory. As a research method, ethnographic research techniques are utilized as part of a case study to gain deep insights into the standardization of software development practices. The research site is the IT division of a large financial services organization and is composed of ten units distributed across eight countries. The tumultuous development of a knowledge management programme intended to institutionalize a standard software development process across the organization’s units provides the case for this research. This thesis answers the call for studies providing detailed accounts of the sociopolitical process by which technically oriented practices are transferred and standardized within organizations. It is submitted that a discourse theoretical approach informed by Bourdieu’s thinking enables us to conceptualize this process in a more meaningful, and theoretically rigorous, manner. In providing this theoretical approach, the thesis seeks to contribute to current research on technology and innovation management, and to offer guidance on some issues concerning the management of the software development process.

The Agile Web Engineering (AWE) process

McDonald, Andrew Gregory January 2004 (has links)
During the late 1990s commerce and academia voiced major concerns about the problems with development processes for Web Engineering. These concerns primarily centred upon the perceived chaotic and 'ad-hoc' approach to developing Web-based applications in extremely short time-scales when compared to traditional software development. Based on personal experience, conducting a survey of current practice, and collecting supporting evidence from the literature, I proposed a set of seven criteria that need to be addressed by a successful Web engineering process: 1. Short development life-cycle times; 2. Delivery of bespoke solutions and different business models; 3. Multidisciplinary development teams; 4. Small development teams working in parallel on similar tasks; 5. Business analysis and evaluation with end-users; 6. Requirements capture and rigorous testing; 7. Maintenance (evolution) of Web-based applications. These seven criteria are discussed in detail and the relevance of each to Web engineering is justified. They are then used to provide a framework to assess the suitability of a representative sample of well-known software engineering processes for Web engineering. The software engineering processes assessed comprise: the Unified Software Development Process; Dynamic Systems Development Method; and eXtreme Programming. These seven criteria were also used to motivate the definition of the Agile Web Engineering (AWE) process. A WE is based on the principles given in the Agile Manifesto and is specifically designed to address the major issues in Web Engineering, listed above. A number of other processes for Web Engineering have been proposed and a sample of these is systematically compared against the criteria given above. The Web engineering processes assessed are: Collaborative Web Development; Crystal Orange Web; Extensions to the Rational Unified Process; and Web OPEN. In order to assess the practical application of A WE, two commercial pilot projects were carried out in a Fortune 500 financial service sector company. The first commercial pilot of A WE increased end-user task completion on a retail Internet banking application from 47% to 79%. The second commercial pilot of A WE used by an Intranet development team won the company's global technology prize for 'value add' for 2003. In order to assess the effect of AWE within the company three surveys were carried out: an initial survey to establish current development practice within the company and two further surveys, one after each of the pilot projects. Despite the success of both pilots, AWE was not officially adopted by the company for Webbased projects. My surveys showed that this was primarily because there are significant cultural hurdles and organisational inertia to adopting different process approaches for different types of software development activity within the company. If other large companies, similar to the one discussed in this dissertation, are to adopt AWE, or other processes specific to Web engineering, then many will have to change their corporate goal of a one size fits all process approach for all software technology projects.

Embedding expert systems in semi-formal domains : examining the boundaries of the knowledge base

Whitley, Edgar A. January 1990 (has links)
This thesis examines the use of expert systems in semi-formal domains. The research identifies the main problems with semi-formal domains and proposes and evaluates a number of different solutions to them. The thesis considers the traditional approach to developing expert systems, which sees domains as being formal, and notes that it continuously faces problems that result from informal features of the problem domain. To circumvent these difficulties experience or other subjective qualities are often used but they are not supported by the traditional approach to design. The thesis examines the formal approach and compares it with a semiformal approach to designing expert systems which is heavily influenced by the socio-technical view of information systems. From this basis it examines a number of problems that limit the construction and use of knowledge bases in semi-formal domains. These limitations arise from the nature of the problem being tackled, in particular problems of natural language communication and tacit knowledge and also from the character of computer technology and the role it plays. The thesis explores the possible mismatch between a human user and the machine and models the various types of confusion that arise. The thesis describes a number of practical solutions to overcome the problems identified. These solutions are implemented in an expert system shell (PESYS), developed as part of the research. The resulting solutions, based on non-linear documents and other software tools that open up the reasoning of the system, support users of expert systems in examining the boundaries of the knowledge base to help them avoid and overcome any confusion that has arisen. In this way users are encouraged to use their own skills and experiences in conjunction with an expert system to successfully exploit this technology in semi-formal domains.

The impact of localized road accident information on road safety awareness

Zheng, Yunan January 2007 (has links)
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that road traffic accidents represent the third leading cause of ‘death and disease’ worldwide. Many countries have, therefore, launched safety campaigns that are intended to reduce road traffic accidents by increasing public awareness. In almost every case, however, a reduction in the total number of fatalities has not been matched by a comparable fall in the total frequency of road traffic accidents. Low severity incidents remain a significant problem. One possible explanation is that these road safety campaigns have had less effect than design changes. Active safety devices such as anti-lock braking, and passive measures, such as side impact protection, serve to mitigate the consequences of those accidents that do occur. A number of psychological phenomena, such as attribution error, explain the mixed success of road safety campaigns. Most drivers believe that they are less likely to be involved in an accident than other motorists. Existing road safety campaigns do little to address this problem; they focus on national and regional statistics that often seem remote from the local experiences of road users. Our argument is that localized road accident information would have better impact on people’s safety awareness. This thesis, therefore, describes the design and development of a software tool to provide the general public with access to information on the location and circumstances of road accidents in a Scottish city. We also present the results of an evaluation to determine whether the information provided by this software has any impact on individual risk perception. A route planing experiment was also carried out. The results from the experiment gives more positive feedback that road users would consider accident information if such information was available for them.

Analysing accident reports using structured and formal methods

Burns, Colin Paul January 2000 (has links)
Formal methods are proposed as a means to improve accident reports, such as the report into the 1996 fire in the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France. The size and complexity of accident reports create difficulties for formal methods, which traditionally suffer from problems of scalability and poor readability. This thesis demonstrates that features of an engineering-style formal modelling process, particularly the structuring of activity and management of information, reduce the impact of these problems and improve the accuracy of formal models of accident reports. This thesis also contributes a detailed analysis of the methodological requirements for constructing accident report models. Structured, methodical construction and mathematical analysis of the models elicits significant problems in the content and argumentation of the reports. Once elicited, these problems can be addressed. This thesis demonstrates the benefits and limitations of taking a wider scope in the modelling process than is commonly adopted for formal accident analysis. We present a deontic action logic as a language for constructing models of accident reports. Deontic action models offer a novel view of the report, which highlights both the expected and actual behaviour in the report, and facilitates examination of the conflict between the two. This thesis contributes an objective analysis of the utility of both deontic and action logic operators to the application of modelling accident reports. A tool is also presented that executes a subset of the logic, including these deontic and action logic operators.

Web page performance analysis

Chiew, Thiam Kian January 2009 (has links)
Computer systems play an increasingly crucial and ubiquitous role in human endeavour by carrying out or facilitating tasks and providing information and services. How much work these systems can accomplish, within a certain amount of time, using a certain amount of resources, characterises the systems’ performance, which is a major concern when the systems are planned, designed, implemented, deployed, and evolve. As one of the most popular computer systems, the Web is inevitably scrutinised in terms of performance analysis that deals with its speed, capacity, resource utilisation, and availability. Performance analyses for the Web are normally done from the perspective of the Web servers and the underlying network (the Internet). This research, on the other hand, approaches Web performance analysis from the perspective of Web pages. The performance metric of interest here is response time. Response time is studied as an attribute of Web pages, instead of being considered purely a result of network and server conditions. A framework that consists of measurement, modelling, and monitoring (3Ms) of Web pages that revolves around response time is adopted to support the performance analysis activity. The measurement module enables Web page response time to be measured and is used to support the modelling module, which in turn provides references for the monitoring module. The monitoring module estimates response time. The three modules are used in the software development lifecycle to ensure that developed Web pages deliver at worst satisfactory response time (within a maximum acceptable time), or preferably much better response time, thereby maximising the efficiency of the pages. The framework proposes a systematic way to understand response time as it is related to specific characteristics of Web pages and explains how individual Web page response time can be examined and improved.

An empirical investigation of issues relating to software immigrants

Hutton, Alistair James January 2008 (has links)
This thesis focuses on the issue of people in software maintenance and, in particular, on software immigrants – developers who are joining maintenance teams to work with large unfamiliar software systems. By means of a structured literature review this thesis identifies a lack of empirical literature in Software Maintenance in general and an even more distinct lack of papers examining the role of People in Software Maintenance. Whilst there is existing work examining what maintenance programmers do the vast majority of it is from a managerial perspective, looking at the goals of maintenance programers rather than their day-to-day activities. To help remedy this gap in the research a series of interviews with maintenance programmers were undertaken across a variety of different companies. Four key results were identified: maintainers specialise; companies do not provide adequate system training; external sources of information about the system are not guaranteed to be available; even when they are available they are not considered trustworthy. These results combine together to form a very challenging picture for software immigrants. Software immigrants are maintainers who are new to working with a system, although they are not normally new to programming. Although there is literature on software immigrants and the activities they undertake, there is no comparative literature. That is, literature that examines and compares different ways for software immigrants to learn about the system they have to maintain. Furthermore, a common feature of software immigrants learning patterns is the existence and use of mentors to impart system knowledge. However, as the interviews show, often mentors are not available which makes examining alternative ways of building a software immigrants level-of-understanding about the system they must maintain all the more important. As a result the final piece of work in this thesis is the design, running and results of a controlled laboratory experiment comparing different, work based, approaches to developing a level-of-understanding about a system. Two approaches were compared, one where subjects actively worked and altered the code while a second group took a passive ‘hands-off’ approach. The end result showed no difference in the level-of-understanding gained between the subjects who performed the active task and those that performed the passive task. This means that there is no benefit to taking a hands-off approach to building a level-of-understanding about new code in the hostile environment identified from the literature and interviews and software immigrants should start working with the code, fulfilling maintenance requests as soon as possible.

An environment for protecting the privacy of e-shoppers

Galvez-Cruz, Dora Carmen January 2009 (has links)
Privacy, an everyday topic with weekly media coverage of loss of personal records, faces its bigger risk during the uncontrolled, involuntary or inadvertent disclosure and collection of personal and sensitive information. Preserving one's privacy while e-shopping, especially when personalisation is involved, is a big challenge. Current initiatives only offer customers opt-out options. This research proposes a `privacy-preserved' shopping environment (PPSE) which empowers customers to disclose information safely by facilitating a personalised e- shopping experience that protects their privacy. Evaluation delivered positive results which suggest that such a product would indeed have a market in a world where customers are increasingly concerned about their privacy.

Infrastructure support for adaptive mobile applications

Friday, Adrian January 1996 (has links)
Recent growth in the number and quality of wireless network technologies has led to an increased interest in mobile computing. Furthermore, these technologies have now advanced sufficiently to allow 'advanced applications' to be engineered. Applications such as these are characterised by complex patterns of distribution and interaction, support for collaboration and multimedia data, and are typically required to operate over heterogeneous networks and end-systems. Given these operating requirements, it is the author's contention that advanced applications must adapt their behaviour in response to changes in their environment in order to operate effectively. Such applications are termed adaptive applications. This thesis investigates the support required by advanced applications to facilitate operation in heterogeneous networked environments. A set of generic techniques are presented that enable existing distributed systems platforms to provide support for adaptive applications. These techniques are based on the provision of a QoS framework and a supporting infrastructure comprising a new remote procedure call package and supporting services. The QoS framework centres on the ability to establish explicit bindings between objects. Explicit bindings enable application requirements to be specified and provide a handle through which they can exert control and, more significantly, be informed of violations in the requested QoS. These QoS violations enable the applications to discover changes in their underlying environment and offer them the opportunity to adapt. The proposed architecture is validated through an implementation of the framework based on an existing distributed systems platform. The resulting architecture is used to underpin a novel collaborative mobile application aimed at supporting field workers within the utilities industry. The application in turn is used as a measure to gauge the effectiveness of the support provided by the platform. In addition, the design, implementation and evaluation of the application is used throughout the thesis to illustrate various aspects of platform support.

Flexible physical interfaces

Villar, Nicolas January 2007 (has links)
Human-computer interface devices are rigid, and afford little or no opportunity for end-user adaptation. This thesis proposes that valuable new interaction possibilities can be generated through the development of user interface hardware that is increasingly flexible, and allows end-users to physically shape, construct and modify physical interfaces for interactive systems. The work is centred around the development of a novel platform for flexible user interfaces (called VoodooIO) that allows end-users to compose and adapt physical control structures in a manner that is both versatile and simple to use. VoodooIO has two main physical elements: a pliable material (called the substrate), and a set of physical user interface controls, which can be arranged on the surface of the substrate.The substrate can be shaped, applied to existing surfaces, attached to objects and placed on walls and furniture to designate interface areas on which users can spatially lay out controls. From a technical perspective, the design of VoodooIO is based on a novel architecture for user interfaces as networks of controls, where each control is implemented as a network node with physical input and output capabilities. The architecture overcomes the inflexibility that is usually imposed by hard-wired circuitry in traditional interface devices, by enabling individual control elements that can be connected and disconnected ad hoc from a shared network bus. The architecture includes support for a wide and extensible range of control types; fast control identification and presence detection, and an application-level interface that abstracts from low level implementation details and network management processes. The concrete contributions to the field of human-computer interaction include a motivation for the development of flexible physical interfaces, a fully working example of such a technology, and insights gathered from its application and study.

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