Professor John Fitzgerald
Director of Research in Computing Science, Director of the Centre for Software Reliability


John Fitzgerald is a specialist in the engineering of resilient computing systems, particularly using rigorous analysis and design tools. He is currently seconded from his roles as Director of the Centre for Software Reliability and Director of Research in the School of Computing Science while he leads for the School on the design of the first university building at Newcastle Science Central - a new home for all our research and teaching activities from autumn 2017. 

In his research, he develops model-based methods and tools to help in the design of particularly challenging types of product, especially systems that require collaboration between engineering teams of differing backgrounds and disciplines. For example, recently led the international COMPASS project, which is developing technology for engineering complex "Systems-of-Systems" that are built from pre-existing systems that might never have been designed with collaboration in mind. On a different scale, he leads Newcastle's research into co-modelling and co-simulation  in the design of fault-tolerant embedded systems (in the DESTECS project and in our EPSRC platform grant on Trustworthy Ambient Systems). 

John is probably most closely associated with the Vienna Development Method (VDM) which has been developed from its logical foundations to a commercial tool-supported method, with industry applications in areas as diverse as options trading and firmware design. He recently led work in the Deploy project on achieving and demonstrating dependability through the deployment of formal methods in four industry sectors. His project on the use of formal models to support collaborative modelling and simulation in the design of embedded systems (DESTECS), started in January 2010. 

John studied formal proof (PhD, Manchester Univ.), before joining Newcastle, where he worked on formal design techniques for avionic systems with British Aerospace in the 1990s. He went on to study the potential for industrial application of formal modelling (specifically VDM) as a SERC Fellow and later as a Lecturer at Newcastle. He returned to the University in 2003, having established the design and validation team at Transitive, a successful SME in the embedded processor market. 

John recently completed a term as Chair of FME, the main European body bringing together researchers and practitioners in rigorous methods of systems development. He is a Fellow of the BCS, and a member of the EPSRC College. He is a member of the ACM and IEEE.

Esteem Indicators

1. Chairman of Formal Methods Europe

2. Program Committee memberships: FM, ICTAC, IFM, ICFEM, ABZ, SEFM

3. Editorial Board Membership: The Journal of Aplied Logic (Elsevier)

4. Fellow of the BCS

5. Member of EPSRC College

6. Guest Editorships:, “The Industrialization of Formal Methods” - Special Section of International Journal of Software Tools for Technology Transfer, 2006; Special Issue of Information Processing Letters on Formal techniques in Industrial Applications 2006

Postgraduate Teaching

John founded the MSc in Computer Security and Resilience. Within the programme, he contributes to the following modules:

  • CSC8206: Group Project
  • CSC8299: CSC8299: Individual Project in Computer Security & Resilience 


Undergraduate Teaching 

John currently teaches on:

  • CSC3323: Software Verification Technology