Francisco Servant

Ph.D. Software Engineering

Why did you choose UC Irvine for your Ph.D. studies?

I chose UC Irvine because of its strong software Engineering faculty. I was accepted at multiple universities to do my Ph.D., but I ended up choosing UC Irvine because it provided the best match between my research interests and those of its faculty.

Which faculty member(s) do you work with and on what projects?

My advisor is professor James A. Jones, but I have also worked in the past with professor André van der Hoek. In my current research, I analyze software evolution as a means to improve the quality and efficiency of the software development process. With Andre, I research mechanisms to improve the collaboration and coordination of software developers.

What is the most enjoyable part of doing research?

For me, the best part of doing research is finding myself at the limits of knowledge. Doing research gives you the ability to provide new findings and perspectives on various phenomena. In my specific case, I enjoy providing new understandings of how software evolves, as well as new mechanisms to improve the way that software is developed today.

Have you done an internship? If so, where and in what role?

In the past, I have interned at Dreamworks Animation and Microsoft Research. In both cases, I worked on ways to improve shortcomings of software repositories. Although software repositories already provide very useful functionality, they also add complexity to the collaborative process of software development.

What are you most proud of so far?

I am most proud of the fact that the faculty and students of the informatics department always aim to disseminate their work in the most valued conferences and journals of each field, such as ICSE, FSE, ASE, CHI or CSCW. It makes me very proud to know that the informatics department has been very successful at regularly publishing its research in the most important venues.

What has been the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience has been the great people around me during all my years in the Ph.D. program. I have had the chance to collaborate and get advice from a high number of really smart people. The informatics department has always provided an incredibly friendly environment that always made me feel at home.

What has been the most unexpected part of your experience?

The most unexpected aspect of my experience is that, since I study at UC Irvine, I practice sports and outdoors activities regularly! I was not attracted to sports before, but the Orange County area provides a wide variety of opportunities to practice all kinds of different activities. Now, I really enjoy going hiking in the mountains, surfing on the beach, or even practicing yoga in a studio, and I can perform any of these activities by driving less than 15 minutes!

What are your aspirations for the future?

My aspiration is to become a professor in a research university. I have enjoyed very much doing research in software engineering during my whole time at UC Irvine, and I would like to continue my career in this field. I have also had the opportunity to teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and I would like to continue doing so as a professor.

What would be your advice to incoming Ph.D. students in your program?

Find out the research areas that interest you and start exploring them right away. If you can make an early decision about the problems that you would like to research, you can make a greater impact in that field during your Ph.D. years.


“For me, the most enjoyable part of doing research is finding myself at the limits of knowledge. Doing research gives you the ability to provide new findings and perspectives on various phenomena.”