Dr Nasser Giacaman

At the University of Auckland: PhD, BE with 1st Class Honours in Software Engineering, PGCert in Academic Practice.


Nasser joined the University of Auckland in 2002 as a student in the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) programme, followed by a PhD in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering completed in 2010. He now lectures in the Software Engineering programme.

His disciplinary research interest includes parallel programming, with particular focus on high-level languages in the context of desktop and mobile applications running on multi-core systems. A number of tools stemming from this research have been released to the open-source community on the ParallelIT website

Following the completion of his PGCert in Academic Practice, Nasser undertakes various education research, both for Software Engineering education (with the development of tools and apps to help students learn difficult programming concepts), and also with general applications for education. Examples include:

Extending his interest in Software Engineering Education, another research interest is investigating other Education domains, particularly:

  • Software for mathematics education
  • STEM education

BE(Hons) in Software Engineering (first class honours)
PGCert in Academic Practice

Research | Current

  • Software Engineering education
  • Mobile application development
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for education
  • STEM education development
  • Parallel computing for interactive applications on multi-cores
  • Language implementation (source-to-source compilers)


Research groups


Teaching | Current

  • COMPSYS 202 / MECHENG 270 - Object Oriented Design and Programming
  • SOFTENG 206 - Software Engineering Design 1
  • SOFTENG 701 - Advanced Software Engineering Development Methods
  • SOFTENG 751 - High Performance Computing

Postgraduate supervision


  • Elliot Varoy (2017-), Investigating virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for education (Co-supervisors: Andrew Luxton-Reilly and Rena Heap) 
  • Hadisantono Hadisantono (2014-), Challenges and opportunities in assessment of Engineering Education (Main supervisor: Gerard Rowe)
  • Mostafa Mehrabi (2014-), Cloud comptuing with Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Fan Xing (2013-2017), Object-oriented shared memory parallel programming (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Chen Wang (2013-), An intelligent tutoring system for improving self-regulated learning skills (Main supervisor: Gerard Rowe)


  • Elliot Varoy (2016), Improving conceptual Physics understanding using collaborative environments (Co-supervisor: Gerard Rowe)
  • Shenghao Lu [Gary] (2016), Modeling of Mathematical equation solving (Co-supervisor: Barbara Kensington-Miller)
  • Beibei Zhai (2014), Educational support for Software Engineering learning
  • Weng Hao Tong (2014), Work-first in nested parallelism for Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Hans Bhardwaj (2014-2015), Measuring usability improvements through concurrency and parallelism (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Xiaoxing Hu (2013), Benchmarking and cache-awareness in Java (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Chen Wang [Kingsley] (2013), Performance implications of thread count in a multi-application environment (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Vikas (2012), GUI-aware parallel programming for Java using OpenMP-like directives (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Jonathan Chow (2012), Design patterns for parallel programming on modern desktop and Android devices using Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Gurpreet Singh (2012-2013), Coupling and software evolution (Main supervisor: Ewan Tempero)

Masters-taught projects

  • Yuang Zhu (2017), Virtual reality experiences (Co-supervisor: Giuseppe Dr Ruvo)
  • Marin Abernethy (2017), Educational virtual and augmented reality (Co-supervisor: Giuseppe Dr Ruvo)
  • Gowri Rudrabhatla (2015), Automatic submission and plagiarism detection in programming labs
  • Xiaohe Zhang (2015), Data analysis of Active Classroom Programmer effectiveness on student participation
  • Ximin Yan (2015), Mobile app to assist children using Mathematics manipulatives (Co-supervisor: Gail Ledger)
  • Rui Li (2015), Parallel programming with Active Classroom Programmer
  • Chidambaram Palaniappan (2015), Visualisation of Active Classroom Programmer activity to measure student engagement
  • Yalu You (2014), Eclipse refactoring for Pyjama (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Rui Feng (2014), Benchmark Suite for Java OpenMP-like parallelizing compilers (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Jiabin Zhong (2014), Evaluation of public transport app (Co-supervisor: Subeh Chowdhury)
  • Aravind Sankar (2014), Android app for learning of data structures
  • Shubhendu Sharma (2014), iOS app for learning of data structures
  • Chang Liu (2014), Adding collaborative support to Active Classroom Programmer
  • Nancy Watta (2014), Android app for public transport users (Co-supervisor: Subeh Chowdhury)
  • Yuan Zhao (2014), Server-side support for public transport app (Co-supervisor: Subeh Chowdhury)
  • Wu Ke (2014), Enchancing Pyjama Eclipse plugin with error propagation (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Haoming Ma (2014), Parallel Task environment using annotation and lambda expressions (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Sriram Sugumaran (2014), Enchancing Pyjama Eclipse plugin with refectoring (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)


  • 2016 AUEA Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2015 Faculty of Engineering Students' Choice Top Teachers Award
  • 2015 University of Auckland Teaching Excellence Award (Early Career)
  • 2014 Faculty of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award


  • Software Engineering postgraduate Masters advisor (2012-)
  • Faculty of Engineering Teaching Learning Quality Committee member (2016-)
  • Faculty of Engineering Reseach Committee member (2016-)
  • ECE department Student Staff Consultative Committee chair (2012-2015)

Areas of expertise

  • Mobile virtual and augmented reality
  • Mobile app development
  • Programming education
  • Educational software solutions
  • Parallel programming
  • Compiler front-end

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Giacaman, N., & Sinnen, O. (2018). Preparing the software engineer for a modern multi-core world. JOURNAL OF PARALLEL AND DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING, 118, 247-263. 10.1016/j.jpdc.2018.02.028
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Giacaman, N., & De Ruvo, G. (2018). Bridging Theory and Practice in Programming Lectures With Active Classroom Programmer. IEEE Transactions on Education10.1109/TE.2018.2819969
  • De Ruvo, G., Tempero, E., Luxton-Reilly, A., & Giacaman, N. (2018). Unencapsulated collection - A teachable design smell. SIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. 10.1145/3159450.3159469
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ewan Tempero, Andrew Luxton-Reilly
  • De Ruvo, G., Tempero, E., Rowe, G. B., & Giacaman, N. (2018). Understanding Semantic Style by Analysing Student Code. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. 10.1145/3160489.3160500
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ewan Tempero, Gerard Rowe, Andrew Luxton-Reilly
  • Fan, X., Mehrabi, M., Sinnen, O., & Giacaman, N. (2017). Supporting enhanced exception handling with OpenMP in Object-Oriented languages. International Journal of Parallel Programming, 45 (6), 1366-1389. 10.1007/s10766-016-0474-x
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mostafa Mehrabi, Oliver Sinnen
  • Mehrabi, M., Giacaman, N., & Sinnen, O. (2017). Annotation-based parallelization of Java code. Proceedings - 2017 IEEE 31st International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium Workshops, IPDPSW 2017. 10.1109/IPDPSW.2017.23
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mostafa Mehrabi, Oliver Sinnen
  • Fan, X., Sinnen, O., & Giacaman, N. (2017). Asynchronous OpenMP tasking with easy thread context switching and pool control. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics). 10.1007/978-3-319-65578-9_15
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Hadisantono, Rowe, G. B., & Giacaman, N. (2016). Customizing the EPSA rubric to cover local curriculum content for assessment of engineering professional skills. Proceedings of the 27th annual conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 311-319. Coffs Harbour, Australia. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gerard Rowe, Hadisantono Hadisantono