Centre for Software Reliability

Staff Profile

Dr Ken Pierce



Ken is a Lecturer 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 investigating Digital Twins for Resilient Geoinfrastructure with the School of Engineering, and Studying Drones in Mountain Rescue with Virtual Field Trials with domain experts from Newcastle University Business School and registered charity The Centre for Search Research

Ken is associated with the AMBER group (Advanced Model-based Engineering) the CPLab (Cyber-Physical Systems lab) and has been Convener of the Language Board of the VDM (Vienna Development Method) formal method since 2014. He is Degree Programme Director (DPD) for the Smart Systems Engineering MSc. programme. Ken is currently involved in the HUBCAP project, an Innovation Action funded by the European Commission's H2020 programme, which brings model-based design to European SMEs through an online platform and cascading funding. 

Ken has previously participated in a variety of successful projects, particularly the H2020 project INTO-CPS and CPSE Labs between 205 and 2017, and FP7 projects DESTECS and COMPASS between 2010 and 2014. Ken 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. 

Area of expertise: Model-based engineering and cyber-physical systems

Google Scholar: Click here.


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.

Current Projects

Former Projects


Ken engages in research-informed teaching on a variety of topics, particulary collaborative modelling, Cyber-Physical Systems and smart systems. He supervises PhD students as well as dissertation students at postgraduate and undergraduate level. He is Degree Programme Director (DPD) for the Smart Systems Engineering MSc. programme. 

PhD Supervision:

  • TBC - Studying Drones in Mountain Rescue with Virtual Field Trials (2021 –)
  • Sam Hall - Digital Twins for Resilient Geo-Infrastructure (2019 – present)
Postgraduate Teaching
Undergraduate Teaching
  • CSC2034 Introducing Contemporary Topics in Computing
  • CSC3331 Real-Time and Cyber-Physical Systems 

Project supervision:

  • CSC3095 Project and Dissertation in Computing Science
  • CSC8499 Project and Dissertation for MSc in Advanced Computer Science
  • CSC8099 Project and Dissertation for MSc Computer Science
  • CSC8799 Project and Dissertation in Smart Systems