Research & Innovation

Lu Xiao’s Research on Software Systems Architecture Supported by Two National Science Foundation Grants

SSE Assistant Professor Xiao Aims to Build Framework for Bridging Gap Between Software Architecture and Testing

In software engineering, the marriage of research and real-world practice are not necessarily an easy match. When it comes to software architecture and software testing, these important areas are often disjointed.

Lu Xiao, assistant professor at Stevens School of Systems and Enterprises (SSE), is in the process of changing that. She is involved in two distinct research projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that ultimately will build tools to analyze the architecture of software products and bridge existing gaps.

“We anticipate that Dr. Xiao’s NSF-funded research will have wide application for both academia and industry,” said Yehia Massoud, dean of the School of Systems and Enterprises. “Along with her colleagues at SSE, I look forward to the progress of her endeavors and am very pleased that her research is already having an impact in our classrooms.”

Two Grants Underscore Related Themes

The two NSF grants are independent projects that underscore coherently related themes in the focus of Dr. Xiao’s research. 

In 2018 Dr. Xiao was awarded an NSF grant of $126,429 for collaborative research on 

“Constructing a Community-Wide Software Architecture Infrastructure.” For this project, she is  working on a Software Architecture INstrument (SAIN)—a first-of-its-kind integration framework—for connecting academic research and practice in the software-architecture domain.  

Last year, she was awarded a second NSF grant of $260,464 for “Test-Centric Architecture Modeling” to further support her focus on software architecture, modeling and analysis. For this project, she is building a novel architecture-modeling framework to bridge the gap between software architecture and testing. 

Research Supports Industry and Education

“The first project will build a community-wide infrastructure that will support a broad range of software-architectural empirical studies,” Dr. Xiao said. “In the second project, we will build useful tools to help practitioners, software developers, architects and managers analyze the architecture of software with a specific focus on how those systems are tested in real life.”

While the research has broad application for industry, Dr. Xiao hopes that educators will benefit by being able to rethink and rejuvenate the way that software architecture and software testing topics are taught.