Alife XV

Just came back from Alife XV in Cancun.

Our poster won 3rd prize in the best poster award. It is titled Higher Order Cognition using Computers: Learning Abstract Concepts with Recursive Graph-based Self Organizing Map with Peter Bentley and Alexander Kurashov. Very happy! ūüôā

You can see the poster here and the paper here.

We also have a video about the work:



TEVC paper on developer dynamics and app store fitness accepted!

Haven’t been this excited for a while!

My paper with Peter Bentley and Fuyuki Ishikawa entitled “The Effects of Developer Dynamics on Fitness in an Evolutionary Ecosystem Model of the App Store” has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation (TEVC). This is a very good journal with high impact factor, so I am over the moon!

This is the first time we submitted a paper to TEVC and I am impressed with it’s review process: very fast turn around time (2 months!), and the paper was accepted after one revision.

TSE paper on mobile app user behavior accepted!

My research on mobile app user behavior with Peter Bentley, Natalie Kanakam, Fuyuki Ishikawa and Professor Honiden has been accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering!

As usual, this is a hefty piece of work. We collected mobile app user data from more than 10,000 people from more than 15 countries, including USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, UK, Italy, Russia, India, Canada, Spain, Australia, Mexico, and South Korea. We asked users about their app store usage, their app needs, and rationale for selecting or abandoning an app. We found statistically significant differences in app user behavior across countries for example users from USA are more likely to download medical apps, users from UK and Canada are more likely to be influenced by price, users from Japan and Australia are less likely to rate apps. Analysis of the results revealed new challenges to market-driven software engineering related to packaging requirements, feature space, quality expectations, app store dependency, price sensitivity, and ecosystem effect. Check out the paper here.

This is my second TSE paper (the first one being StakeRare) and TSE is one of the most prestigious journal in my field, so I am super excited!


Over the past 6 months, I have been very busy working on my startup: Kazoova, the online marketplace for quirky activities. Kazoova is developed in Django, and I love Django!!

Kazoova beta is now officially up and running. If you are in the mood for something quirky, check it out!



Leadership in Action

Last week, I attended the Leadership in Action course co-organised by UCL, LSE, and SOAS. It was a very intensive three-day course, leaving me exhausted at the end of each day, and totally drained at the end of the course. The organisers call it an “experiential leadership programme.” All 36 participants, who were shortlisted from a pool of early career researchers from UCL, LSE, and SOAS, were given many opportunities to experience leading and being led.

On the first morning, Luke Freeman, the course director, held up a 10 pound note, saying that it is an opportunity, and anyone can take it, but there is only a limited time to do so, and the time will run out very soon. I was sitting at the back of the classroom, furthest away from Luke, and there were rows of people before me. For a split second, I was envying the people sitting right in front of Luke – they didn’t even need to stand up to take the ¬£10 from him, but they were just sitting there. I can see that most of us wanted to take it, but for some reason didn’t, how frustrating! Then I thought to myself, I want the ¬£10 and I am going to go get it. I felt the power of the crowd and my worries about my distance to Luke holding me back, but I steeled my mind and focused on the goal. I stood up, made my way through the rows of people, and claimed my prize. As I was doing that, I felt myself break free from the invisible rule of conforming, and I was just me, focusing on my goal and nothing else. It felt very nice – I felt that people may think I am weird but it is OK. The task wasn’t difficult, but people were holding themselves back. Luke had a lesson for us. Opportunities are everywhere. If we see an opportunity, we should never be afraid to grab them and make the most out of them.

As I was the only one who grabbed the opportunity, I was much talked about after that. Several people came to congratulate me for my “bravery”. They also tried to explain to me why they didn’t stand up soon enough. “I was sitting too far back,” many said. I thought to myself, “so was I…” Another one said, “I was going to get it, but I wasn’t sure if I should, since I am one of the tutors of the course.” I think self-doubt is one’s worst enemy, and it is kind of cool to break free from the crowd.

Employment and Internships during my Undergraduate


Organisation: GrangeNet and Department of Computer Science, ANU (DCS)
Supervisors: Dr Greg Wickham ‚Äď GrangeNet,¬†Dr Markus Buchhorn and Rhys Hawkins ‚ÄstDCS
Scope: Enhance and extend functionalities of current multicast beacon servers (dbeacon, NLANR beacon) and develop plug-ins for Nagios network monitoring system
Languages: C, C++, Perl
Platform: Linux


Topic: Traffic grooming in WDM networks
Supervisor: Dr Weifa Liang, Department of Computer Science, ANU
Scope: Study scheduling problems in provisioning of connection in WDM optical networks and carry out experimental simulations on heuristics
Language: Matlab


Project: Collaborative Annotation System
Organisation: The Distillery Pty. Ltd.
Scope: Carry out project management tasks e.g. planning, conflict resolution, quality control, negotiation, team building towards the completion of the project. The team consists of 8 members, working on an annotation service extension for the InterQuest Analytics product.


Organisation: Unicycles (note: it does not sell unicycles), Australian National University
Scope: Fix bicycles for ANU staff and students, mainly punctured tyres.


Organisation: Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
Scope: Gain work experience in software support for the TerraWulf Cluster
Platform: Unix


Project: Investigation Management System
Organisation: The Distillery Pty. Ltd.
Scope: Document test cases, track and report bugs via Bugzilla
Platform: Windows


Project: Water Rights Market System
Organisation:  FasFind Pty. Ltd.
Scope: Requirements analysis and documentation using Structured Analysis and Design, black box testing


Subjects: Software Engineering and IT
Organisation: Ursula College, ANU
Scope: Provide academic support to residents of Ursula College on first and second year IT/SE courses


Organisation: City News
Scope: Circulate City News magazines in Canberra city area.