Zhenchang Xing

Honorary Associate Professor


Software Engineering, with the specific focus on knowledge graph method and behavior analytics to improve software development productivity and software quality.


My research is centered around software engineering, which I believe is a unique perspective of computing research. This perspective represents the quest to answer “how can we build complex systems simply?”. My current research focus is to exploit data science to improve software development productivity.

My research combines software analytics, behavioral research methods, data mining and deep learning techniques, and interaction design to solve the information problems in software engineering. The long-term vision is to incorporate the innovations in these four areas into an intelligent working environment for software engineering.

My research work can be clustered into three areas on different types of software engineering data:

  • Software artifacts: Investigate static and dynamic program analysis techniques for program comprehension, software maintenance, and system security

  • Interaction data with the working environment: Understand how developers work, and then design innovative tools to improve their work or new metrics to assess their work

  • Crowdsourced software content: Mining a knowledge base about software-specific entities and relationships to improve developers’ life on the Internet

The center theme of my work is to exploit the three pillars - knowledge graph, machine learning and behavior analytics to solve challenging software engineering problems.

For more, please see Zhenchang’s Google Scholar and DBLP pages.


Two PhD scholarships for 2018 intake are available. Please contact me with your CV.

Dr. Zhenchang Xing is an Associate Professor in the Research School of Computer Science, Australian National University. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, from 2012-2016. Before joining NTU, Dr. Xing was a Lee Kuan Yew Research Fellow in the School of Computing, National University of Singapore from 2009-2012. Dr. Xing obtained his Master of Engineering from Nankai University, Tianjin, China in 2001, and his PhD degree from the University of Alberta, Canada in 2008.

Dr. Xing’s main research area is software engineering, applied data analytics, and human-computer interaction. He has published expertise in traditional areas of software engineering such as software differencing, clone analysis and feature location. In his most recent work, Dr. Xing has focused on designing domain-specific data-mining techniques and recommendation systems for the timely and serendipitous discovery of software engineering information on the internet.

Dr. Xing has over 80 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. His research work has been published in top software engineering venues such as ICSE, FSE, ASE, ICSME, SANER, MSR, TSE, EMSE. Four of his research papers have won Best Paper awards in ICSM2006, ICSM2011, SANER2016, ASE2016 ToolDemo. Three others have won nominations for Best Paper awards in ASE2005, ICSM2014, and SANER2015. Dr. Xing regularly referees papers and serves on the program committees of the top software engineering conferences (e.g., ICSE, ASE, ICSME). He has won AUD$1,000,000 in industry and government funding and has industrial collaborations with Rolls-Royce, Insigma Hengtian, and Bangsun Technology.

Dr. Xing has graduated six phd students, two of which are now faculty members in universities, two are postdoctural fellow, one in MSRA Suzhou, and one in Tencent AI lab. He currently supervise 3 PhD students, 7 Master students and several undergraduate Honours projects. Dr. Xing and his research team has been actively working on the following research projects:

  • Software Engineering: Semantic clone analysis, Software graph embedding and reasoning, Code search and generation
  • Human-Computer Interaction: Policy assurance bot, UI design critics and generation, Domain-specific dialogue systems
  • Knowledge Graph: Entity and relation extraction in software text, Software weaknesses and vulnerabilities representation learning
  • Deep Learning in SE: Question answering and chatbot, Software development knowledge and behavior tracing, Multi-modal (e.g, code, text, image) embedding and retrieval

Activities & Awards#

Zhenchang is leading a research team of postdocs, HDR students and honours/project students who have been actively contribute to the research and open-source community. His research and tools have been highly recognized by the community with multiple distinguished awards and high citations:

ACM SIGSOFT Most Influential Paper Award, The 36th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), 2021
ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award, The 42nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), 2020
Distinguished Reviewer Award, The 34th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), 2019 Best Tool Demonstration Award, The 27th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE), 2019
IEEE TCSE Distinguished Paper Award, The 35th IEEE International Conference on Software Evolution and Maintenance (ICSME), 2019
Best Industry Paper Award, The 29th IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE) (CORE A conference), 2018
ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award, The 33rd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), 2018
IEEE TCSE Distinguished Paper Award, The 34th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSME), 2018
Best Tool Demonstration Award, The 31st IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), 2016
Best Paper Award, The 23nd IEEE IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering (SANER), 2016
Best Paper Award, The 27th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSME), 2011
Lee Kuan Yew Postdoctoral Fellowship (A prestigious postdoctoral fellowship awarded to outstanding young researchers by Lee Kuan Yew Foundation, similar to Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow in Australia), 2009
Outstanding PhD Thesis Award, University of Alberta, Canada, 2009
Outstanding PhD Research Achievement Award, University of Alberta, Canada, 2007
Best Paper Award, The 22nd IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM), 2006
IBM Eclipse Innovation Award (under the supervision of Prof. Eleni Stroulia), 2004

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