My PhD academic journey

Monday, November 29, 2010

Update (25/09/2015)

My PhD thesis defence was held on 28th August 2015 at 12 noon at the University of Eastern Finland School of Computing in the Louhela Auditorium, Joensuu Science Park in Joensuu, Finland. A summary of my PhD thesis is at

I was a PhD student in Computer Science with the University of Eastern Finland under the supervision of Prof. Jorma Sajaniemi from January 2010.  In this post and other posts in this blog, I attempted to chronicle my academic journey by documenting some of the research papers I was reading for assigned academic tasks. I am thankful to God for the grace.

Mental Representations in Programming

Canas J. et al.(1994). Mental models and computer programming. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. 40. 795-811

Sajaniemi J. et al. (2007). A study of the Development of Students Visualizations of Program State during an Elementary Object-Oriented Programming Course. ICER07. ACM Press.

Fix V. et al (1993). Mental Representations of Programs by Novices and Experts. INTERCHI 93. ACM Press.

Ramalingam V. and Wiedenbeck S. (1997). An Empirical study of novice program comprehension in the imperative and object-oriented styles. ACM Press, New York, USA.

Petre M. et al. (2003). My criterion is: Is it a Boolean? : A card-sort elicitation of students knowledge of programming constructs

Petre M. and Blackwell A.F. (1996). A Glimpse of Expert Programmers' Mental Imagery

Requirements Engineering

Bray I.K. (2002). An Introduction to Requirements Engineering. Addison Wesley

Kovitz B.L. (1999). Practical Software Requirements. Manning Publications Company

Lauesen S. (2002). Software Requirements. Addison-Wesley

Leffingwell D. and Widrig D. (2003). Managing Software Requirements. Addison-Wesley

Software Process Models

Boehm B.W. (1988). A Spiral Model of Software Development and Enhancement. IEEE Computer.

Brooks F.P. (1987). Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering. IEEE Computer.

Larman C. and Basili V.R. (2003). Iterative and Incremental Development: A Brief History. IEEE Computer Society.

Empirical Studies in Programming

Davies S. P. (1993b). The Structure and Content of Programming Knowledge: Disentangling Training and Language Effects in Theories of Skill Development. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 5(4), 325-346.

Soloway E., Ehrlich K., (1984). Empirical Studies of Programming Knowledge. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 10(5), 595-609.

Spohrer J. C., Pope E., Lipman M., Sack W., Freiman S., Littman D., Johnson L., Soloway E. (1985). Bugs in Novice Programs and Misconceptions in Novice Programmers. K. Duncan, D. Harris (eds.), Computers in Education, Elsevier Science Publishers, 543-552.

Sajaniemi J., Navarro Prieto R. (2005). An Investigation into Professional Programmers’ Mental Representations of Variables. 13th International Workshop on Program Comprehension (IWPC 2005), IEEE Computer Society, 55-64.

Pennington N. (1987). Comprehension Strategies in Programming. G. M. Olson, S. Sheppard, E. Soloway (eds.), Empirical Studies of Programmers: Second Workshop, Ablex Publ. Co., 100-113.

Davies S. P. (1993a). Models and Theories of Programming Strategy. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 39(2), 237-267.

Vans A. M., von Mayrhauser A., Somlo G. (1999). Program Understanding Behavior during Corrective Maintenance of Large-Scale Software. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 51(1), 31-70.

Rist R. S. (1989). Schema Creation in Programming. Cognitive Science 13, 389-414.

D├ętienne F. (1997). Assessing the Cognitive Consequences of the Object-oriented Approach: A Survey of Empirical Research on Object-oriented Design by Individuals and Teams. Interacting with Computers, 9, 47-

Singer J., Lethbridge T. (1998). Studying Work Practices to Assist Tool Design in Software Engineering. Sixth International Workshop on Program Comprehension IWPC’98, Ischia, Italy.

Sajaniemi J. (2000). Program Comprehension through Multiple Simultaneous Views: A Session with VinEd. Eight International Workshop on Program Comprehension IWPC’2000, Limerick, Ireland, 99-108.

Usability Engineering

Sherman, P., Usability Success Stories: How Organizations Improve By Making Easier to Use Software and Web Sites

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Usability and User-Centred Design

Chapter 2: Tracking Ease-of-Use Metrics: A Tried and True Method for Driving Adoption of UCD in Different Corporate Cultures

Chapter 3: Tales from the Trenches – Getting Usability through Corporate

Chapter 4: Redesigning the United States Department of Health and Human Services Website

Chapter 5: Creating Better Working Relationships in a User-Focused Organization

Chapter 6: Using Innovation to Promote a User-Centred Design Process While Addressing Practical Constraints

Chapter 7: Changing Perceptions – Getting the Business to Value User-Centred Design Processes

Chapter 8: User Interface Design at Siemens Medical Solutions

Chapter 9: Collaborating with Change Agents to Make a Better User Interface

Chapter 10: Learning from Success Stories

Philosophy of Computer Science

Newell A., Perlis A.J., Simon H.A., (1967), What is Computer Science?. Science, 157, pp 1373-4

Denning P. J., et al., (January 1989), Computing As A Discipline (Report of the Taskforce on the Core of Computer Science), Communications of the ACM, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 9 – 21

Broy, M., (2009). Seamless Model Driven Systems Engineering Based on Formal Models. In Formal Methods and Software Engineering: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Formal Engineering Methods, ICFEM 2009, Rio de Janeiro. Karin Breitman & Ana Cavalcanti (Editors) . Springer. pp 1 – 19.

Davis, J. F., (2005). The Affordable Application of Formal Methods to Software Engineering. In Proceedings of the 2005 annual ACM SIGAda International Conference on Ada: The Engineering of Correct and Reliable Software for Real-Time & Distributed Systems using Ada and Related Technologies. Association of Computing Machinery. pp 57-62

Hinchey, M., Jackson, M., Cousot, P., Cook, B., Bowen, J.P., and Margaria, T. (2008). Software Engineering and Formal Methods. Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery. Volume 51. Issue 9 . pp 54-59.

Woodcock, J., Larsen, P. G. Bicarregui, J., and Fitzgerald, J. (2009). Formal methods: Practice and Experience. ACM Comput. Surv. Volume 41. Issue 4

Tedre, M., (2009). Computing as Engineering. Journal of Universal Computer Science, vol. 15, no. 8, pp 1642-1658

Parnas, D. L., (1999). Software Engineering Programs Are Not Computer Science Programs. IEEE Softw. Volume 16. Issue 6. pp 19-30

Linden, T. A. (1972). A Summary of Progress Toward Proving Program Correctness. In
Proceedings of the December 5-7, 1972, Fall Joint Computer Conference, Part I. Association of Computing Machinery. P 201-211.

Priestley, M. (2005). The Logic of Correctness in Software Engineering. In Jaelson Castro, Ernest Teniente (Eds.): Advanced Information Systems Engineering, 17th International Conference, CAiSE 2005. Proceedings of the CAiSE'05 Workshops, Vol. ISBN 972-752-077-4

Sanders, D and Hartman, J. (1987). Assessing the quality of programs: a topic for the CS2 course. SIGCSE Bull. Volume 19, Issue 1. pp 92-96.

Stamouli I and Huggard M. (2006). Object oriented Programming and Program Correctness: The Students' Perspective. In Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Computing Education Research. Association of Computing Machinery. pp 109-118.

Denning, P.J., Comer, D.E., Gries, D., Mulder, M.C., Tucker, A., Turner, A.J., Young, P.R.,(1989). Computing as a Discipline. Communications of the ACM. Volume 32. Number 1. pp 9 - 23.

Jacobson, I. and Spence, I. (2009) Why We Need a Theory for Software Engineering URL: Accessed 5th January 2012

Knuth, D. (1974) Computer Science and Its Relation to Mathematics. American Mathematical Monthly. Volume 81. Issue 4. pp 323-343

May, J. (2004) Theory in HCI. In W.S. Bainbridge (Ed.). Berkshire Encyclopaedia of Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 2, pp. 723-727. Berkshire Publishing : Great Barrington, MA.

Matteuzzi, M. (1995) Why AI is not Science, URL:
2/text/matteuzzi.html Accessed on 18th December 2011

Lippman, S. B. (2006) {End Bracket}:Is Programming an Art? MSDN Magazine. URL: Accessed on 3rd January 2011

Parnas, D. L., (1999). Software Engineering Programs Are Not Computer Science Programs.IEEE Softw. Volume 16. Issue 6. pp 19-30

Bynum, T. W. (2000) A Very Short History of Computer Ethics. Newsletter on Philosophy and Computing. American Philosophical Association.

Chalmers, M. (2006) Ubiquitous Computing: Experience, Design and Science. URL: Accessed on 27th December 2011

May, J. (2004) Theory in HCI. In W.S. Bainbridge (Ed.). Berkshire Encyclopaedia of Human- Computer Interaction, vol. 2, pp. 723-727. Berkshire Publishing : Great Barrington, MA.

Tedre, M. (2006) What Should be Automated? The Fundamental Question Underlying Human-
Centred Computing. Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Human-Centred
Multimedia (HCM) 2006, October 27, 2006, Santa Barbara,USA. pp 19-24.

Tedre, M. (2008) FEATURE: What should be automated?. Interactions. Volume 15. Issue 5.Association of Computing Machinery. pp 47 - 49

ICT for Development

 Benjamin, P. (2001). Does 'Telecentre' mean the centre is far away? Telecentre development in South Africa. The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication . Volume 1. Number 1. URL:

Bellu, L.G. (). (2011). Development and Development Paradigms .A (Reasoned) Review of Prevailing Visions. EasyPol Resources for PolicyMaking. URL:

DevPolitics. (2010). Defining Development. Musings and Analysis of the Politics and Policies of Development from Students at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. URL:

Falcha, M. and Anyimadu, A. (2003). Tele-centres as a way of achieving universal access—the case
of Ghana. Telecommunications Policy. Volume 27. pp 21–39.

Johannson Hedberg, L. (2010). Telecentre for Community Development: Evaluation of the Tunjang Telecentre, Malaysia. The Journal of Community Informatics. Volume 6. No 2. URL:

MIT Sloan Management Review. (2012). What is Sustainability?. URL:

Mukerji, M. (2008). Telecentres In Rural India: Emergence And A Typology.
The Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries. Volume 35. Issue 5. pp 1-13. URL: 

Sustainable Measures. (2010). Definitions of Sustainability.  URL:

University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. (2012). Definitions: Types of Sustainability. URL:

Wellenius, B. (2003). Sustainable Telecenters. Public Policy for the Private Sector Journal. World Bank. Note Number 251. URL:

Tiihonen, T.  (2011). Information Systems in Context. Building a Tool for Analysing the Sociotechnical Context of Organisational Information Systems. PhD Dissertation.  University of Eastern Finland. School of Computing. Retrieved 13.12.2012 from

Olson, J., Codde, J., deMaagd, K., Tarkelson, E., Sinclair J., Yook, S., Egidio R. (2011). An Analysis of e-Learning impacts & best practices in developing countries - With reference to Secondary School Education in Tanzania. Information & Communications Technology for Development. Michigan State University. Retrieved November 16, 2012 from

Unwin T., Kleessen, B., Hollow, D., Williams, J.B. Mware Oloo, L., Alwala, J. Mutimucuio, I., Eduardo, F., Muianga, X. (2010). Digital learning managements systems in Africa: Myths and realities. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning.

USAID (2011). First principles: Designing effective education programs using Information and Communication Technology. Retrieved, November 16 from

Chirwa, M.L. (2010). Knowledge Synthesis on Malawi Health System: Literature Review. Retrieved 6.12.2012 from

Mueller DH, Lungu D, Acharya A, Palmer N (2011) Constraints to Implementing the Essential Health Package in Malawi. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20741. Retrieved 6.12.2012 from


Babies cry more

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All of us have one of those days. Some of us have one of those seasons. Some even have one of those lives. It feels like the world is chewing on us. It isn't, it just feels that way.

I have long realized that life isn't really what it is; it's what we think it is based on relative things and our knowledge level. If you have traveled extensively, you know that in many parts of the world just clean drinking water is a rarity. We flush with clean drinking water. So many of us have so much when you compare it. Those of you who are reading this have access to the Internet, email and a computer. You can see, and you are not reading this from a hospital.

We have so much, yet there is an innate tendency to complain.

I tried to think of the easiest point in our lives to see if we complained then. Babies have perhaps the easiest life around. Babies don't have to go to the toilet because mama changes their diapers. Mama breast feeds them or gives them a bottle, rocks them to sleep, and lets them sleep as much as they want. Babies go to bed when they want. Babies wake up when they want. Babies don't have to work. Babies don't have to deal with bills or bosses. Babies don't worry if their thighs have gotten too fat or if their hair is receding. It's as easy as it gets.

With all of that, babies cry more. Babies cry more, with all of that. Maybe it's not circumstances, but the closer we are to babies (regardless of circumstances) the more we cry and complain. I shall leave you with that thought. Babies cry more.


Malawi holds a youth conference on climate change

Malawi successfully held a youth conference on climate change for southern Africa from 18th to 20th November 2010 at Cresta Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.

The conference website is at


APCCEM launches website

The Association of Professional Chemists and Chemical Engineers of Malawi (APCCEM) has launched their website at The mission of APCCEM is to promote the application of chemistry and chemical engineering in the socio-economic development of Malawi.

Having done chemistry up to second year of my undergraduate studies at Chancellor College (University of Malawi), I am still fascinated by chemistry as an exciting subject. I always remember the lectures of Dr. Chokhotho and the late Dr Elizabeth Henry. The analytic skills I learnt in those chemistry classes still help me in my career as a computer scientist and how I generally understand issues in scientific circles and public life.

By the way the following story is true: Gotcha!

There were these two fairly average college students taking the required chemistry course at their school one semester. They were both pretty good at chemistry, so by the end of the course they both had A averages. The final for this class was on a Monday. Since they were both doing well, they figured that they could go to a party that weekend up at another school. Well, obviously they didn't quite make it back.

So they decided they would tell their lecturer that they went up to another school that weekend, had a flat tyre on the way back, and couldn't get help for a long time so that they just didn't get back in time. The lecturer thought about it and finally decided to let them take the final the next day. So they went home that night, studied hard, and went to bed early. The next day they went in, the lecturer gave each of them a copy of the final, and put them in separate rooms. So they started the exam. The first page had one problem worth five points, and it was a fairly simple problem dealing with moles and molarity. So they figured this would be an easy exam. The second page also had one question. It was worth ninety-five points: "Which tyre?" Original author of story: Unknown


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