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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P023991/1
Title: Automated Software Specialisation Using Genetic Improvement
Principal Investigator: Petke, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Computer Science
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 30 September 2023 Value (£): 891,505
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Feb 2017 EPSRC ICT Fellowships Interview Panel Feb 2017 Announced
12 Jan 2017 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel Jan 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This fellowship will change the face of software development by transferring the challenging and time-consuming task of software specialisation from human to machine. It will develop novel approaches for specialising and improving efficiency of generalist software for particular application domains in an automated way. The developed techniques will be program-agnostic and thus applicable to any type of software. Therefore, they will allow to speed-up computationally intensive calculations that arise, for instance, in the field of bioinformatics or healthcare. This fellowship thus can contribute to driving research development in other fields of research by providing an automated way of adapting and speeding-up existing software used in a plethora of areas, both in research and in the industry.

The project will utilise and develop novel methods in the field of software engineering, called genetic improvement, to achieve the goals of the project. Genetic improvement is a novel field of research that only arose as a standalone area in the last few years. Several factors contributed to the development and success of this field, one of which is the sheer amount of code available online and focus on automated improvement of non-functional properties of software, such as energy or memory consumption.

Dr. Petke is a world-leading expert on genetic improvement, publishing award-winning work on automated software specialisation and transplantation. She won two `Humies' awarded for human-competitive results produced by genetic and evolutionary computation and a best paper award at the International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis. This work was also widely covered in media, including the Wired magazine and BBC Click. The potential of genetic improvement for automating certain aspects of the software development process has thus been already recognised in the academic community and beyond.

Dr. Petke will collaborate with a UK-based company, called Satalia, which provides the latest optimisation techniques to the industry. She will apply deliverables of this project to automatically adapt and speed-up their generalist optimisation algorithms to particular classes of real-world problems. An example is specialisation of a general routing program to devising an optimal network for broadband connections. Therefore, the deliverables of this project will contribute to the UK economy by providing techniques that will automate the process of software specialisation for real-world optimisation problems.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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