NASA veteran to direct Irish software research


5 Mar 2008

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A Limerick native who was director of the software engineering lab at NASA and who continues to consult with the US space programme has been appointed as co-director and professor of software engineering at the University of Limerick (UL).

Professor Mike Hinchey will also perform the role of centre director at Lero, a software-focused Centre for Science Engineering and Technology which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

As well as being a consultant for NASA, Hinchey is currently professor of computer science and director of the graduate programme at Loyola College in Maryland.

A graduate of UL, Hinchey was awarded the President’s Gold Medal as leading student in his graduating year. He was also awarded an MSc in computation at the University of Oxford and a PhD in computer science at the University of Cambridge.

The current centre director at Lero, Professor Kevin Ryan, said the appointment of Hinchey has energised the research centre.

“It is a wonderful testament to the high calibre of work being done by the people at Lero and throughout Ireland that Mike has agreed to return home to join in our endeavours,” said Ryan.

“His arrival brings to Lero an internationally known figure with expertise in several areas of interest to us, including autonomic systems, mathematics of software engineering and software product lines,” Ryan added.

Hinchey has held a number of professorships, both visiting and permanent, in a number of universities including the University of Nebraska, Queen’s University Belfast, New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Skovde in Sweden.

Particular areas of software research for Hinchey include formal methods, autonomous systems and software reliability.

Prof Hinchey’s work with NASA was implemented in various space projects and will be incorporated in future missions.

He helped make NASA missions self-managing and able to proceed to terrains which were previously inaccessible. He also helped develop significant advances in survivability, with consequent less likelihood of mission failure.

Professor Hinchey has published widely and is very well known in the international computing community.

By John Kennedy