School of Computing Science

Staff Profiles

Professor John Fitzgerald

Director of the Centre for Software Reliability


John Fitzgerald is a specialist in the engineering of resilient systems, particularly using rigorous model-based design techniques. He is currently leading for the School on the design of the first major university building at Newcastle Science Central - a new home for all our research and teaching activities from autumn 2017. You can see the state of building here. Until 2015, John served as Director of Research in the School of Computing Science, and is now Director of the Centre for Software Reliability and Deputy Head of School. He was recently appointed to head the School from 1 August, 2017. 

John studied formal proof (PhD, Manchester Univ.), before joining Computing Science at 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 decade 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, IEEE and INCOSE.


In my research, I develop 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.

My group here in Newcastle undertakes groundbreaking research into co-modelling and co-simulation in the design of trustworthy embedded systems (in the DESTECS project and in the EPSRC platform grants on Trustworthy Ambient Systems). Our work in the Deploy project concentrated on achieving and demonstrating dependability through the deployment of formal methods in four industry sectors. In 2011-2014 I led the international COMPASS project, 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. These strands of work come together in the work that I now lead on multi-modelling methods in the INTO-CPS project. 

The impact of my group's research has been felt in the development of model-based engineering methods that have been successfully applied in areas as diverse as firmware design and options trading. We play a leading role in one of the first EU Horizon 2020 Innovation Actions, CPSELabs, in which we provide funding and research support to small industry-led consortia wanting to experiment with new design technology in order to develop new products, complete value chains, or transfer experience from one domain to another. 

Our team is playing a key role in two EU Horizon 2020 Support Actions in the area of Cyber-Physical Systems. In TAMS4CPS we are developing a research agenda for Transatlantic cooperation on modelling and simulation for CPSs, while in Road2CPS we are building roadmaps, constituencies of interest and mechanisms to multiply the impact of CPS research.

I work with a great group of scientists:

  • Zoe Andrews who leads for us on TAMS4CPS and is an expert in fault modelling
  • Carl Gamble, who leads work on design space exploration technology for CPSs in the INTO-CPS project
  • Claire Ingram, an expert in empirical software engineering, who leads for us on Road2CPS and contributes to the generation of new experiments for CPSELabs.
  • Richard Payne who is our architectural modelling guru and is developing some of the first guidelines for CPS multi-modelling, in INTO-CPS.
  • Ken Pierce, who leads our work on co-modelling and co-simulation in INTO-CPS and is our principal contact for the TEMPO experiment in CPSELabs.
  • Jon Warwick, who brings business expertise to the group, and is working on the design of ecosystems of CPS businesses, within CPSELabs, as well as managing and developing new projects.

And I have a fine group of doctoral students:


Postgraduate Teaching

I founded the MSc in Computer Security and Resilience. Within the programme, I still contribute to the following modules:

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

Undergraduate Teaching 

I currently teach on:

  • CSC3323: Software Verification Technology