The Ross & Muriel Cheriton Faculty Fellowship supports the work of a full-time faculty member in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science whose research is in the general areas of computer systems and computer networking.

The title of Faculty Fellow recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly work is widely known and respected internationally, who is an accomplished teacher at all levels, and who has displayed a high level of commitment and dedication to her or his School of Computer Science, the Faculty of Mathematics, and the University.

Current Ross & Muriel Cheriton Faculty Fellow

2020–2023

Mei Nagappan

photo of Professor Mei NagappanProfessor Mei Nagappan’s research is primarily in the area of empirical software engineering (ESE), and specifically on the use of large-scale data to address questions in the software engineering (SE) community.

Professor Nagappan believes that SE researchers should look at deriving solutions that encompass the needs and concerns of the various stakeholders of software systems, not only those of software developers. Hence, for the past seven years, he has been working on SE research that goes beyond just affecting software developers and testers. He has worked on using SE research to also address the concerns of software operators, build engineers, and project managers.

The fundamental question underlying his research is, what can we as researchers do to make the lives of developers easier today compared with yesterday? Every project he does he starts with identifying which stakeholder would benefit from the project and what questions they have. Much of his work has been in support of various stakeholders in companies such as (in alphabetical order) Avaya Labs, BlackBerry, BMO Bank, CA Technologies, Huawei, Microsoft and SAP Research Labs. Many of these companies have also supported his research directly.

In the recent past he has worked on answering questions of stakeholders in the mobile app economy. In particular, his work from 2014–17 on mobile advertisements with his collaborator from USC, William GJ Halfond and student Jiaping Gui (now at NEC labs), has received both academic and media attention. In recognition of his pioneering work on app store mining he received an early career achievement award in 2018 at the International Conference on Mining Software Repositories. The award recognizes research outputs from exceptional candidates during early stages of their career.

More recently, he has been working with a computer scientist (Jesse Hoey from the University of Waterloo), social psychologist (Tobias Schröder from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam) and a sociologist (Kimberly Rogers from Dartmouth College) on a project aimed at the Theoretical and Empirical Modeling of Identity and Sentiments in Collaborative Groups (THEMIS.COG). In this the team uses a data-driven approach to explore the social and psychological mechanisms that motivate self-organized collaborations and determine their likelihood of success or failure, focusing on the example of open, collaborative software development in online collaborative networks like GitHub. Along with Rahul Iyer, an MMath student (now at Amazon), they looked at the personalities of people submitting and accepting contributions in Github.

Professor Nagappan received a PhD in computer science from North Carolina State University. He subsequently did a postdoc with Ahmed E. Hassan at the Software Analysis and Intelligence Lab (SAIL) at Queen’s University. Several of the students he has mentored or advised are now in both industry and academia. 

Professor Nagappan has published in various top SE venues such as TSE, ICSE, FSE, EMSE, JSS, ICSME and IEEE Software. He has also received best paper awards at the International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR ’12, ’15). He recently stepped down after two terms as the founding editor of the IEEE Software Blog. He is an associate editor for the journals EMSE, JSS and TSE, and has served on the program committee of several conferences — ICSE, FSE, MSR, and ICSME. Currently, he is serving a three-year term on the steering committee of the MSR conference. He continues to collaborate with both industrial and academic researchers from the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, and India. 

Find more at mei-nagappan.com.
 

Previous Ross & Muriel Cheriton Faculty Fellows

Ross & Muriel Cheriton Faculty Fellow Year
Shai Ben-David 2017–20
Anna Lubiw 2014–17
Therese Biedl 2011–14
Shai Ben-David 2008–11
Johnny Wong 2005–08