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:

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

Research | Current

  • Digital Educational Engineering
  • 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 Programming
  • SOFTENG 206 - Software Engineering Design
  • SOFTENG 751 - High Performance Computing


  • SOFTENG 701 - Advanced Software Engineering Development Methods

Postgraduate supervision

PhD (current)

  • Elliot Varoy, Investigating virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for education (Co-supervisors: Andrew Luxton-Reilly and Rena Heap) 
  • Yuanyuan Hu, Using unsupervised machine-learning approaches to classify MOOC discussions (Main supervisor: Claire Donald)
  • Hadisantono Hadisantono, Challenges and opportunities in assessment of Engineering Education (Main supervisor: Gerard Rowe)
  • Chen Wang, An intelligent tutoring system for improving self-regulated learning skills (Main supervisor: Gerard Rowe)

PhD (finished)

  • Mostafa Mehrabi (2019), Cloud comptuing with Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Fan Xing (2017), Object-oriented shared memory parallel programming (Co-supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)

Masters (finished)

  • 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 on modern desktop and Android devices using Parallel Task (Main supervisor: Oliver Sinnen)
  • Gurpreet Singh (2013), Coupling and software evolution (Main supervisor: Ewan Tempero)

Masters-taught projects (finished)

  • 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)

  • Tanielu, T., Akau Ola, R., Varoy, E., & Giacaman, N. (2019). Combining Analogies and Virtual Reality for Active and Visual Object-Oriented Programming. CompEd 2019 - Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Global Computing Education. 10.1145/3300115.3309513
  • 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
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44964
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Mehrabi, M., Giacaman, N., & Sinnen, O. (2018). Unobtrusive Support for Asynchronous GUI Operations with Java Annotations. Proceedings - 2018 IEEE 32nd International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium Workshops, IPDPSW 2018. 10.1109/IPDPSW.2018.00075
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44916
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Abernethy, M., Sinnen, O., Adams, J., De Ruvo, G., & Giacaman, N. (2018). ParallelAR: An augmented reality app and instructional approach for learning parallel programming scheduling concepts. Proceedings - 2018 IEEE 32nd International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium Workshops, IPDPSW 2018. 10.1109/IPDPSW.2018.00063
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44918
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • 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
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42414
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • Fan, X., Sinnen, O., & Giacaman, N. (2018). Supporting asynchronization in OpenMP for event-driven programming. Parallel Computing10.1016/j.parco.2018.03.008
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/42452
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Oliver Sinnen
  • 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


Contact details

Primary office location

BUILDING 903 - Bldg 903
Level 3, Room 362
New Zealand

Web links