Lori Clarke

UMass, Amherst | Professor

Lecture Information:
  • August 26, 2016
  • 2:00 PM
  • ECS 241
Lori Clarke photo

Speaker Bio

Lori A. Clarke is an emerita professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, after serving on the computer science faculty for forty years and as chair from 2011-2015. She is a Fellow of the ACM and IEEE, and a board member of the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W). She is a former vice chair of the Computing Research Association (CRA), co-chair of CRA-W, IEEE Publication Board member, associate editor of ACM TOPLAS and IEEE TSE, member of the CCR NSF advisory board, and ACM SIGSOFT chair. Awards include the 2012 SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award, 2011 University of Massachusetts Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity Award, the 2009 College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Outstanding Faculty Service Award, the 2004 University of Colorado, Boulder Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, and the 2002 SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Clarke’s research is in the area of software engineering. She is one of the initial developers of symbolic execution and developed one of the first model checking systems applicable to software systems. She has also worked in requirements engineering and object management. Recently she has been investigating applying software engineering technologies to detect errors and vulnerabilities in complex, human-intensive processes in domains such as healthcare and digital government. She is also involved in efforts to increase participation of underrepresented groups in computing research.


As has been widely reported in the news lately, healthcare errors are a major cause of death and suffering. In the University of Massachusetts Medical Safety Project, we are exploring the use of process modeling and analysis techniques to help reduce medical errors and improve efficiency. Specifically, we are modeling healthcare processes using a process definition language and then analyzing these processes using model checking, fault-tree analysis, discrete event simulation, and other techniques. Working with the UMASS School of Nursing and the Baystate Medical Center, we have undertaken in-depth case studies of error-prone and life-critical healthcare processes and demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of errors reaching patients. Our most recent work is exploring dynamically generating Smart Checklists from the executing processes based on the validated process models to provide context-sensitive guidance and real-time error detection. This talk describes the technologies we are using, discusses case studies, and presents our observations and findings to date. Although presented in terms of the healthcare domain, the described approach could be applied to human-intensive processes in other domains to provide a technology-driven approach to process improvement.