Dr. Marian Petre

Professor of Computing




Centre for Research in Computing
Faculty of Mathematics & Computing
The Open University
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes,

United Kingdom (U.K.)


Tel:    +44 (0) 1908 65 33 73 

Fax:  + 44 (0) 1908 65 21 40


Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder

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I'm interested in what makes expert software designers expert, how people reason and communicate about design and problem solving, and how they use representations in their reasoning.  There are two sides to this coin:  understanding expertise, and exploiting what we can learn from expertise for non-experts.  What I do is study expert designers doing real tasks in genuine environments, so that I can identify and articulate their strategies, in order to derive a theory of expertise.  I'm particularly interested in generalist experts, problem-solvers who can reason across the whole range of things they know about.  In software design, generalist experts emerge as system architects, the "super-designers" who can encompass large, complex designs and hold them 'in their heads' - and still understand implications of particular detailed design decisions. 

Empirical Studies of Software Development