Dr Nasser Giacaman


Nasser completed his Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) programme in Software Engineering at the University of Auckland, followed by a PhD in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering. He lectures in and is Director of the Software Engineering programme.

Research interests focus on developing pedagogically-sound software solutions for educational contexts, known as Digital Educational Engineering. Target domains include both software engineering education (with the development of tools and apps to help students learn difficult programming concepts), as well as teaching and research collaborations in other educational areas. More information can be found on the Digital Educational Engineering pages. 

Disciplinary research interests include 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


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

Research | Current

  • Digital Educational Engineering
  • Git-based Learning
  • Software engineering education
  • Mobile application development
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality for education
  • Machine learning for education
  • STEM education development
  • Parallel computing for interactive applications on multi-cores
  • Language implementation (source-to-source compilers)


Research groups


Teaching | Current

  • SOFTENG 206 - Software Engineering Design 1
  • SOFTENG 281 - Object-Oriented Programming
  • SOFTENG 761 - Advanced Agile and Lean Software Development
  • MECHENG 270 - Software Design


  • COMPSYS 202 - Object-Oriented Programming
  • SOFTENG 701 - Advanced Software Engineering Development Methods
  • SOFTENG 751 - High Performance Computing

Postgraduate supervision

PhD (current)

  • Aradhna Tiwari, Digital Learning using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Co-supervisor: Hazim Namik)
  • Lynley Stringer, Professional Learning and Development for the Digital Technologies Curriculum (Main supervisor: Kerry Lee)
  • Bitian Wang,  Building Information Modeling in operations management (Main supervisor: Vicente Gonzalez)
  • Elliot Varoy, Investigating virtual reality for education (Co-supervisors: Andrew Luxton-Reilly and Kerry Lee) 
  • Yuanyuan Hu, Using unsupervised machine-learning approaches to classify MOOC discussions (Main supervisor: Claire Donald)
  • Chen Wang, An intelligent tutoring system for improving self-regulated learning skills (Main supervisor: Gerard Rowe)

Masters (current)

  • Mekyal Akhlaghi Amiri, Automated assessment of open text questions
  • Sameer Phadnis, Modelling electrical networks (Main-supervisor: Nirmal Nair)

Masters-taught projects (current)

  • Huizhou Zhan, Web-based practice tool for design drawings (Co-supervisor: Hazim Namik)
  • Lucas Hsieh, A machine learning approach for reflective writing

PostDoc (finished)

  • Dr Giuseppe De Ruvo (2016-18), Software Engineering Education

PhD (finished)

  • Dr Hadisantono Hadisantono (2021), Challenges and opportunities in assessment of Engineering Education (Main supervisor: Gerard Rowe)
  • Dr Mostafa Mehrabi (2019), Cloud comptuing with Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Dr Fan Xing (2017), Object-oriented shared memory parallel programming (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)

Masters (finished)

  • Yannick Ring (2021), Exploration of block-based learning tools for advanced object-oriented programming concepts
  • Victor Lian (2019), Learning object-oriented programming through visualisation (Co-supervisor: Elliot Varoy)
  • Vaibhav Mor (2019), Learning fundamental programming concepts through animations (Co-supervisors: Andrew Luxton-Reilly and Paul Denny)
  • 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 (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 using Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Gurpreet Singh (2013), Coupling and software evolution (Main supervisor: Ewan Tempero)

Masters-taught projects (finished)

  • Michelle Tan (2021), Improving learner engagement to a digital learning tool
  • Rui Yang (2021), Engaging community members with the past
  • Yifei Chen (2020), Classroom version control visualiser
  • Wulei Gui (2020), Natural language analysis of educational content
  • Baiwei Chen (2019), A feasibility study of block-based for mathematics
  • Song Huang (2019), Extension of Visual Kinesthetic Pseudocode for trees
  • 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)


  • 2020 Faculty of Engineering Students' Choice Top Teachers Award
  • 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 Director (2019-)
  • Software Engineering Masters Advisor (2013-)
  • Faculty of Engineering Teaching Learning Quality Committee member (2016-)
  • Faculty of Engineering Reseach Committee member (2016-17)
  • ECSE department Student Staff Consultative Committee chair (2012-2015)

Areas of expertise

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

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Rho, E., Chan, K., Varoy, E. J., & Giacaman, N. (2020). An Experiential Learning Approach to Learning Manual Communication Through a Virtual Reality Environment. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES, 13 (3), 477-490. 10.1109/TLT.2020.2988523
  • Raj, R. K., Romanowski, C. J., Aly, S. G., Becker, B. A., Chen, J., Ghafoor, S., ... Rahimi, S. (2020). Toward High Performance Computing Education. Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE. 10.1145/3341525.3394989
  • Hadisantono, H., Rowe, G., & Giacaman, N. (2020). Extending assessment of engineering professional skills to include the local indonesia higher education competency. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 25 (1), 90-102. 10.1080/22054952.2020.1807730
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gerard Rowe
  • Hu, Y., Donald, C., Giacaman, N., & Zhu, Z. (2020). Towards automated analysis of cognitive presence in MOOC discussions: a manual classification study. Paper presented at 10th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK), ELECTR NETWORK. 25 March - 27 March 2020. LAK20: THE TENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LEARNING ANALYTICS& KNOWLEDGE. (pp. 6). 10.1145/3375462.3375473
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Claire Donald, Zexuan Zhu
  • Fan, X., Sinnen, O., & Giacaman, N. (2019). Balancing parallelization and asynchronization in event-driven programs with OpenMP. CONCURRENCY AND COMPUTATION-PRACTICE & EXPERIENCE, 31 (4)10.1002/cpe.4959
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Mehrabi, M., Giacaman, N., & Sinnen, O. (2019). @PT: Unobtrusive parallel programming with Java annotations. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, 31 (1)10.1002/cpe.4831
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Fan, X., de Supinski, B. R., Sinnen, O., & Giacaman, N. (2019). Preface.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Giacaman, N., & Adams, J. (2019). Introductory Concurrency and Parallelism Education. Paper presented at 4th ACM Conference on Global Computing Education (CompEd), Chengdu, PEOPLES R CHINA. 17 May - 19 May 2019. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ACM CONFERENCE ON GLOBAL COMPUTING EDUCATION (COMPED '19). (pp. 1). 10.1145/3300115.3312505