James Harland is an Associate Professor in Computational Logic. He is known internationally for his work on intelligent agent systems, automated reasoning, logic programming, Turing machines and computer science education.
Associate Professor James Harland has been at RMIT since 1994, and has over 25 years of experience in research and teaching. His work centres on the relationship between computation and logical reasoning, particularly in the areas of mathematical logic and proof theory. His early work focused on logic programming and automated reasoning, which involve the interpretation of concepts of logic for programming applications. This was particularly concentrated on resource-sensitive logics such as linear logic. More recent work has extended this direction into reasoning methods for intelligent agent systems, such as those which control robots. This uses the beliefs and goals of the agents to reason about the most appropriate action to take. This work has also been applied to intelligent narratives.
He is also interested in computer science education, and together with some colleagues from RMIT and others from UTS, QUT, Monash and Newcastle, he was a key contributor to the BABELnot project, funded by a grant from the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT), from 2011 to 2013, which developed an epistemology of competency in computer programming. This work has continued at RMIT with the development of a database of exam questions based on the outcomes of the BABELnot project.
A further interest is Turing machines and similar automata. In particular, he has worked on the busy beaver problem, which centres around the maximal outputs that can be generated from machines of a limited size, and methods to recognise universal Turing machines.
Associate Professor Harland has taught a number of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including Computing Theory. This is a course that computing students find conceptually difficult, and one for which he has become particularly well-known. In 2007 he received a Carrick (now OLT) citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for his work in this course at RMIT. He is also an Approved Peer Reviewer at RMIT, an invitation-only position.
More recent teaching duties have included Introduction to Information Technology, Software Requirements Engineering, Mathematical Logic and Logic Programming, and Building IT Systems. This latter course is a relatively new one, in which students form teams to work on a “moonshot” project in the first semester of their first year. This then forms their entire syllabus for the course.
Associate Professor Harland is also the Program Advisor for the Software Engineering program, and has in the past been the Program Director for offshore activities of the School, including at RMIT’s campus in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and at Taylors College in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. He has also marketed the Schools programs in Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, and India.
- Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Melbourne, 1985.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh, 1991. My thesis title was “On Hereditary Harrop Formulae as a Basis for Logic Programming”, and was supervised by Professor Don Sannella and Professor Robin Milner.
- Member of the Australian Computer Society.
- Member of the Association for Symbolic Logic.
- Australian National Representative on Technical Committee #1 (Foundations) of the International Federation for Information Processing
- Local arrangements chair for the Australiasian Computer Science Week (ACSW), Melbourne, January, 2012
- Co-organising chair (with Prof. Barry Jay, of UTS) of the Theoretical Computer Science conference, held as part of the World Computer Congress, Brisbane, September, 2010.
- Abushark, Y.,Miller, T.,Thangarajah, J.,Winikoff, M.,Harland, J. (2017). Requirements specification via activity diagrams for agent-based systems In: Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 31, 423 - 468
- Abushark, Y.,Thangarajah, J.,Harland, J.,Miller, T. (2017). A framework for automatically ensuring the conformance of agent designs In: Journal of Systems and Software, 131, 266 - 310
- Visser, S.,Thangarajah, J.,Harland, J.,Dignum, F. (2016). Preference-based reasoning in BDI agent systems In: Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 30, 291 - 330
- Rivera Villicana, J.,Zambetta, F.,Harland, J.,Berry, M. (2016). Towards a BDI player model for interactive narratives In: Proceedings of the 22nd European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI 2016), Amsterdam, Netherlands, 29 August - 2 September 2016
- Abushark, Y.,Thangarajah, J.,Miller, T.,Winikoff, M.,Harland, J. (2016). Requirements specification in the Prometheus methodology via activity diagrams In: Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2016), Singapore, 9-13 May 2016
- Spichkova, M.,Harland, J.,Ahmed, A. (2016). Online support system for transnational education In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education and Research (ICEER 2016), Sydney, Australia, 21-24 November 2016
- Rivera Villicana, J.,Zambetta, F.,Harland, J.,Berry, M. (2016). Using BDI to model players behaviour in an interactive fiction game In: Interactive Storytelling, Los Angeles, United States, 15-18 November 2016
- Harland, J. (2016). Busy beaver machines and the observant otter heuristic (or how to tame dreadful dragons) In: Theoretical Computer Science, 646, 61 - 85
- Harland, J.,Blech, J.,Peake, I.,Trodd, L. (2016). Formal behavioural models to facilitate distributed development and commissioning in industrial automation In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Evaluation of Novel Software Approaches to Software Engineering, Rome, Italy, 27-28 April 2016
- Harland, J.,Morley, D.,Thangarajah, J.,Yorke-Smith, N. (2015). Aborting, suspending, and resuming goals and plans in BDI agents In: Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 31, 288 - 331
- IELTS: Student and Supervisor Perceptions of Writing Competencies for a Computer Science PhD. Funded by: IELTS Australia Grant 2016 from (2016 to 2017)
- A Shared, Applied Epistemology of Competency in Computer Programming. Administered by University of Technology Sydney. Funded by: Australian Learning & Teaching Council from (2013 to 2013)
- Service-oriented negotiation and coordination in multi-agent systems. Funded by: ARC Discovery 2006 from (2006 to 2007)
- Flexible and Robust Protocol-Based Interaction between Agents in Open Systems. Funded by: ARC Linkage Project Grant 2002 from (2002 to 2004)
- Simplifying the development of agent-oriented systems. Funded by: ARC SPIRT Grant 2001 from (2001 to 2003)
11 PhD Completions and 3 Masters by Research Completions7 PhD Current Supervisions