James Harland is a 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.
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.
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.
- Harland, J. (2022). Generating candidate busy beaver machines (or how to build the zany zoo) In: Theoretical Computer Science, 922, 368 - 394
- Alzahrani, N.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2022). Application of Property-based Testing Tools for Metamorphic Testing In: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Evaluation of Novel Approaches to Software Engineering, virtual, 25-26 April 2022
- Harland, J.,Thangarajah, J.,Yorke-Smith, N. (2022). Quantifying the progress of goals in intelligent agents In: International Journal of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering, 7, 108 - 151
- Spichkova, M.,Alsanoosy, T.,Harland, J. (2021). Impact of Organisational Culture on the Requirement Engineering Activities In: 29th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE), Notre Dame, IN, USA, 20-24 September 2021
- Alsanoosy, T.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2020). Cultural influence on requirements engineering activities: a systematic literature review and analysis In: Requirements Engineering, 25, 339 - 362
- Alsanoosy, T.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2020). Identification of Cultural Influences on Requirements Engineering Activities In: Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE 42nd International Conference on Software Engineering: Companion (ICSE-Companion 2020), Seoul; South Korea, 27 June - 19 July 2020
- Alsanoosy, T.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2020). Does our culture influence requirements engineering activities? Vietnamese practitioners' view In: Proceedings of the 28th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE 2020), Zurich, Switzerland, 31 August - 4 September 2020
- Alsanoosy, T.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2020). Formal vs. Case-Study-Based Approaches for the Identification of Cultural Influences in Requirements Engineering In: Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE 2020), Trondheim, Norway, 15 -17 April 2020
- Alsanoosy, T.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2020). Exploratory analysis of cultural influences on requirements engineering activities based on stakeholders' profile In: Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information & Engineering Systems (KES 2020), Verona, Italy, 16 -18 September 2020
- Alsanoosy, T.,Spichkova, M.,Harland, J. (2020). A framework for identifying cultural influences on requirements engineering activities In: Proceedings of the 24th Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems: Information Systems (IS) for the Future (PACIS 2020), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 20 - 24 June 2020
16 PhD Completions and 3 Masters by Research Completions5 PhD Current Supervisions
- AWS Supercomputer (VHESIF Pool 1). Funded by: Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF) - Pool 1 from (2021 to 2025)
- IELTS: Student and Supervisor Perceptions of Writing Competencies for a Computer Science PhD. Funded by: IELTS Australia Grant 2016 onwards 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)