Jeff Tian, Ph.D.

Jeff Tian headshot

Jeff Tian, Ph.D.

Professor, Computer Science 

Office Location: 425 Caruth Hall

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  • Ph.D, University of Maryland, computer science. Dissertation: Understanding and Using Program Complexity to Improve Software Development. Areas of concentration:  software engineering
  • M.S., Harvard University, engineering science
    Areas of concentration: decision and control
  • B.S., Xi’an Jiaotong University, electrical engineering


Jeff Tian is a professor of Computer Science at SMU Lyle School of Engineering. Before joining SMU in 1995, he was a process/quality analyst at the IBM Software Solutions Toronto Lab between 1992-1995. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1992 and M.S. in Engineering Science from Harvard University in 1986. His research interests include software testing and quality assurance, software metrics and reliability/usability/safety, and applications to commercial/web-based/ embedded/ Cloud/human-machine/ service-oriented systems, with a focus on user-centered and quantifiable quality improvement.

Honors and Awards

  • Recognized as one of the 15 "Top Scholars in the Field of Systems and Software Engineering" by the Journal of Systems and Software (JSS) in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2008, and 2009 based on publications in six leading journals.

  • National Engineers Week 2002 Asian American Engineer of the Year.

  • The SMU Chapter of Sigma Xi "Outstanding Research Award", April, 2000

  • NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award ( NSF's Highest Honor For New Faculty ), 1998.

  • IBM's "Author Recognition Program (ARP)" awards: 1993, 1994, and 1995.



  • Software testing, especially usage-/risk-based testing
  • Usability and user experience (UX) measurement and improvement
  • Software measurement and empirical software engineering
  • Software reliability and safety
  • Cloud and service computing

Recent Publications

  • J. Tian, “Accelerated Defect Discovery and Reliability Improvement through Risk-Prioritized
    Testing for Web Applications.” Journal of Software, Vol.18, No.3, Aug., 2023..
  • J. Tian, S. Alanazy, A. Bokhary, S. Alharthi and S. Ghanem, “Measuring Influencing Factors of APIUsability.” 9th Annual Conf. on Computational Science & Computational Intelligence (CSCI'22), LasVegas, NV, Dec., 2022.
  • Y. Tian, J. Tian and N. Li, “Cloud Reliability and Efficiency Improvement via Failure Risk Based Proactive Actions.” Journal of Systems and Software, Vol.163, May, 2020.
  • R. Geng and J. Tian, “Improving Web Navigation Usability by Comparing Actual and Anticipated Usage.” IEEE Trans. on Human Machine Systems, Vol.45, No.1, pp.84-94. Feb. 2015.
  • Jeff Tian, “Software Quality Engineering: Testing, Quality Assurance, and Quantifiable Improvement.” John Wiley and Sons, Inc. and IEEE Computer Society Press, 2005. ISBN: 0-471-71345-7

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