Lionel C. Briand is professor of software engineering and has shared appointments between (1) The University of Ottawa, Canada and (2) The Lero Centre---the national Irish centre for software research---hosted by the University of Limerick, Ireland. In collaboration with colleagues, over 30 years, he has run many collaborative research projects with companies in the automotive, satellite, aerospace, energy, financial, and legal domains. Lionel has held various engineering, academic, and leading positions in seven countries.  He currently holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) on "Intelligent Software Dependability and Compliance" and is the director of Lero, the national Irish centre for software research. He was one of the founders of the ICST conference (IEEE Int. Conf. on Software Testing, Verification, and Validation, a CORE A event) and its first general chair. He was also EiC of Empirical Software Engineering (Springer) for 13 years and led, in collaboration with first Victor Basili and then Tom Zimmermann, the journal to the top tier of the very best publication venues in software engineering. 

Lionel was elevated to the grades of IEEE Fellow and ACM Fellow for his work on software testing and verification. He was granted the IEEE Computer Society Harlan Mills award, the ACM SIGSOFT outstanding research award, and the IEEE Reliability Society engineer-of-the-year award, respectively in 2012, 2022, and 2013. He further received an ERC Advanced grant in 2016 on modelling and testing cyber-physical systems, the most prestigious individual research award in the European Union, and was elected a fellow of the Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada in 2023. His research interests include: software testing and verification (including security aspects), trustworthy AI, applications of AI in software engineering, model-driven software development, requirements engineering, and empirical software engineering.

DETAILED Biography

My professional experience spans six countries, and a variety of institutions and functions including applied research, technology transfer, scientific management, 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 practices is what helps make my research activities more relevant.

I currently hold two faculty appointments between which I share my time and hope to create synergies: (1) I hold a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) on "Intelligent Software Dependability and Compliance" at the University of Ottawa, Canada (Nanda Laboratory) and (2) I am the director of the Lero centre---the national Irish centre for software research--- and professor of software engineering at the University of Limerick, Ireland. 

In the last 30 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. My goal is to increase the relevance of my research and therefore its impact. My industry partners, over the years, have spanned various application domains, including automotive, aerospace, satellite, legal, and finance. 

At the University of Ottawa, in the Nanda laboratory, I currently lead a team of graduate students and postdocs and (have) run projects in collaboration with companies such Blackberry-QNX, General Motors, Auxon, and Huawei Canada. I am also supported by the NSERC Discovery and Canada Research Chair programs. 

Until December 2023, my main responsibility at the SnT centre, University of Luxembourg,  was to lead research and innovation activities in the area of software verification and validation (SVV department) -- including trustworthy AI, automated testing, requirements quality assurance, vulnerability detection, and model-based verification -- with a current emphasis on cyber-physical systems and AI-enabled systems. The SVV department was funded by an ERC Advanced grant from the EU (the most prestigious European individual grant) and a PEARL grant from the FNR, the research funding agency in Luxembourg. My main collaborators in SVV have been Sallam Abualhaija, Domenico Bianculli, Claudio Menghi, Shiva Nejati, Fabrizio Pastore, Mehrdad Sabetzadeh, Donghwan Shin, and Seung Yeob Shin. Over the last decade, we have been working with many industry and public partners, including Delphi Automotive Systems (now Aptiv), the European Space Agency, IEE Sensing, SES, OHB/LuxSpace, Huawei, Clearstream, Linklaters, BNP Paribas, and various government agencies. For five years (2014-2019), I was also the vice-director of SnT. 

Until December 2011, I was the leader of the Certus software V&V center  at the Simula research labs 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 December 2011. My main collaborators at Simula have been Shaukat Ali, Andrea Arcuri, Erik Arisholm, Shiva Nejati, Mehrdad Sabetzadeh, and Tao Yue.

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, then 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, ICSME, ISSRE, and ESEM.  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 and for 13 years, I was the co-editor in chief of Empirical Software Engineering (Springer), a journal that promotes industry-relevant software engineering research. I had the great pleasure to collaborate with Victor Basili and then Tom Zimmerman to transform the journal into a premier publication venue in software engineering.

Over the years, 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. 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). In Luxembourg, I worked with SES, OHB/LuxSpace, the European Space Agency, IEE Sensing, Clearstream, Delphi Automotive Systems (now Aptiv), Linklaters, and BNP Paribas. In Canada, I currently collaborate with General Motors, Auxon, Huawei Canada, and QNX. 

My research interests in software engineering include:

I received the Ph.D degree in Computer Science, with high honors (félicitations du jury), from the University of Paris-Saclay (XI), France, in April 1994. I am a registered Canadian Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) registered in Ontario, Canada.

I was elevated to the ranks of IEEE fellow and ACM fellow for my work on software testing and verification. I was granted the IEEE Computer Society Harlan Mills award in 2012, the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award in 2022, and was elected Reliability Engineer of the year 2013 by the IEEE Reliability Society. Last, I was elected a fellow of the Academy of Science, Royal Sociey of Canada in 2023.

Personal Biography

Though my degrees are from France (University Paris-Saclay), where I grew up and studied until my PhD, I did most of my Ph.D. thesis work at the University 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