Bug-finding MaJiCkE finds a home at Facebook

19 January 2017
Mark Harman

Yue Jia (CEO), Mark Harman (Scientific Advisor), and Ke Mao (CTO)

The UCL Computer Science team behind spinout software testing technology MaJiCKe are moving on to work with Facebook in London. The technology uses the academic field of Search Based Software Engineering to remove ‘much of the drudgery’ of testing software, while still finding bugs.

 The company’s three co-founders Mark Harman (Scientific Advisor), Yue Jia (CEO), and Ke Mao (CTO) are members of UCL Computer Science and are currently partly funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Prof. Harman co-founded the whole field of Search Based Software Engineering (SBSE) in 2001. Dr. Jia harnessed the power of computational search for software testing, while Ke Mao demonstrated how these techniques can be exploited for Android testing, in the world’s first automated test tool able to minimise the length of tests required while maximising the amount of code checked.

 These insights are combined to make the key product for MaJiCKe, Sapienz, which uses SBSE to find the situations that cause crashes as quickly as possible. While finding crashes might not sound like a positive, you have to find them before you can fix them.

 Professor Harman said:

“We are all very excited to have this outstanding opportunity to achieve real world impact for UCL’s excellent Software Engineering research.”

Academic spinouts are just one of the ways that UCL researchers use their work to change the world. UCL Engineering Vice-Dean (Enterprise) Jane Butler said:

“We provide an atmosphere to nurture collaborations with industry, its great to see a team like this taking their world leading expertise to Facebook”

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