Published on 21/04/2021
Programming code abstract screen of software developer
  • Leading authority on system and simulation modelling to share insights into new approaches to engineering complex software systems
  • Tony Clark, Professor in Software Engineering and Deputy Dean in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Aston University, to deliver online public lecture
  • Lecture takes place on Tuesday 27 April 2021, as part of the Aston Talks series

It is estimated that one in seven IT projects fail, with almost a third not meeting the original project goals.1 Many large-scale software projects take longer than planned, and do not fully meet the needs of the organisation when implemented.

To address this problem, new software must adapt to work effectively with its environment. The challenge is to find approaches that will allow systems to be built in order to dynamically change their behaviour.

So, what practical solutions can software engineers offer to help to make IT software projects successful?

Software engineering research expert, Professor Tony Clark, will outline the challenges and describe some approaches and techniques that can be used to address it, when he delivers the next public lecture in the online series, Aston Talks, on Tuesday 27 April: “Software for an uncertain world”.

Professor Clark explains: “Most companies and organisations need to implement complex and large-scale software, and there are pitfalls to avoid in order to ensure such projects are implemented successfully, within budget and on time.

“We need approaches that will help us to deliver adaptive software systems that can be delivered on-time but can subsequently change their behaviour in order to reflect changes in the operating environment and even to repair failing or incomplete functionality.

“These include the use of a ‘digital twin’, which is virtual model of a process, product or service, which can identify problems and opportunities, helping to optimise the effectiveness of the software being implemented. Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, such as machine learning, can also be used to support the successful implementation of software.”

Professor Clark joined the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Aston University in 2018 and was appointed Deputy Dean of the College in 2020. Before joining Aston, Professor Clark worked for Marconi Research for 9 years before becoming an academic holding academic posts at the University of Bradford and King's College London. He then co-founded a company and served as Technical Director for 5 years before returning to academia as Head of Department of Computer Science at Middlesex University.

His research specialisms are in software engineering, especially in system modelling, producing an approach to language engineering for system modelling , as well as technology for building simulation models using agents.

The talk is part of the Aston Talks series, which showcases some of the research taking place at Aston University and its impact on society.

It is free to attend and open to all and will take place on Microsoft Teams Live from 18:30 to 19:30 on Tuesday 27 April 2021. Register your place in advance through Eventbrite.


1 Project Management Institute (PMI) Pulse of the Profession report 2017,



Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. The University also has TEF Gold status in the Teaching Excellence Framework. 

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