School of Computing

Staff Profiles

Dr Ken Pierce



Ken is a Research Associate in the School of Computing at Newcastle University. His main interests lie in developing methods and tools for collaborative, model-based design and engineering of cyber-physical systems (CPSs). In particular, he is interested in helping engineers from multiple disciplines collaborate effectively through co-modelling and co-simulation to achieve better performing, more resilient designs across a range of domains. Recent new collaborations include applying collaborative modelling to the built environment, working with BIM Academy in the North East, the  Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation at Imperial College London, and the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering at Sheffield University.

Ken is associated with the AMBER group (Advanced Model-based Engineering) the CPLab (Cyber-Physical Systems lab). He received his BSc (Hons) in Computer Science (Software Engineering) from Newcastle University in 2005 and studied for his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Cliff Jones. His thesis, titled "Enhancing the Usability of Rely-Guarantee Conditions for Atomicity Refinement", was published in December 2009. He participated in the successful FP7 projects DESTECS and COMPASS between 2010 and 2014 and currently works on two H2020 ICT-1 projects: INTO-CPS, a research project that is building a tool chain for CPS design; and CPSE Labs, an innovation project that forms a network of CPS “design centres” across Europe and provides cascading funding for focused experiments in CPS design.


My research interests are in the areas of cyber-phsyical systems (CPSs), these are systems of interacting computing and physical elements, with requirements for distributed control, human interaction and error detection and recovery. More broadly I research model based design, collaborative modelling and co-simulation, design space exploration (DSE) and trade-space analysis, and fault tolerance. I also maintain an interest in formal methods, including the VDM formalism.


Ken has engaged in research-led teaching by incorporating CPS and co-modelling in the CSC3322 Real-time and Cyber-Physical Systems module. Prepared and delivered lectures, set coursework and exam questions and organised demonstrating and marking, and has co-supervised undergraduate and Master’s project students.
Ken has prepared and delivered training in collaborative modelling, and continuous-time (CT) and discrete-event (DE) formalisms to student and industrial partners. This includes two Summer Schools (2012, 2017) in model-based design for cyber-physical systems (CPSs), and three tutorials at the International Symposium on Formal Methods (FM11, FM14, FM16).