UTS postgraduate research that could lead to improved computer user interfaces has won the John Makepeace Bennett Award for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation of 2012.
PhD graduate and honorary teaching fellow Dr Richard Kennard is the first UTS student to receive the prestigious award, presented to him at the Australasian Computer Science Week in Adelaide.
Named after the Australian computing pioneer John Makepeace Bennett, the award recognises the best PhD thesis of the year in the field of computer science.
Dr Kennard’s thesis, ‘Derivation of a General Purpose Architecture for Automatic User Interface Generation’, seeks to understand and address the limitations of automatically constructing a computer user interface, often a time-consuming stage of many software projects.
“I wanted to address this long standing problem in software development with a novel solution, but to be successful I knew it had to have a strong practical approach,” Dr Kennard said.
He relied on industry case studies and close collaboration with practitioners, as well as employing innovative techniques like software mining, to tackle the problem.
“By including industry from the start I was ensuring my research was relevant and could be used in practice,” Dr Kennard said.
To test his findings, Dr Kennard built an open source project based on his research for software practitioners and organisations. IT company Red Hat, an industry leader in open source software, has subsequently integrated Mr Kennard’s research into their next generation products.
Professor David Abramson, a computer science academic from Monash University and chair of the selection committee for the award, said they were “impressed that Dr Kennard’s research made both fundamental contributions to computer science and practice in industry”.
Dr Kennard said he was extremely excited to have triumphed over competition from universities throughout Australasia.
“To have my work selected from such a strong field is a reflection of the forward-thinking research that UTS is currently doing in the computer science field,” Dr Kennard said.
Dr Kennard's PhD thesis can be read in full on the UTSePress Research website.