Improving web service composition

Alexandre Sawczuk da Silva is an Engineering PhD candidate using evolutionary computation to find better ways to build programs.

Alexandre Sawczuk da Silva is an Engineering PhD candidate

I’m part of a research group that uses a set of techniques known as evolutionary computation to solve all kinds of real-world problems, from image processing to vehicle routing.

My research investigates automated techniques for combining existing Web services into new programs. At the same time I’m optimising the solution in terms of the Quality of Service of each atomic service included in the composition. My focus is on employing evolutionary computation to reach both these goals.

Fascinating projects

Deciding to pursue my postgraduate studies at Victoria University of Wellington was a natural consequence of having done my undergraduate degree here. I knew the academics in the School of Engineering and Computer Science carry out some pretty fascinating research and, besides the technical side,  I was also attracted by the environment in our department. I find people are very friendly and willing to help.

Skills beyond research

Before starting, my focus was mostly on learning about my specific niche of artificial intelligence, but over time I realised I was also learning so many other useful skills—writing for a variety of audiences, thinking more analytically and critically about a problem and understanding how a specific issue fits into a wider context. I’m sure these are going to come in very handy in the future.

The University has given me the opportunity to work as a tutor in tandem with my studies. Getting the chance to deliver some lectures was a thrill, but the most gratifying part is realising that you’ve helped a student understand something they’d been struggling with before.

Great city

What I like most about the University and about Wellington in general is the character and sense of community. The city and the University both have their quirks and those made me feel welcome. My favourite thing about Wellington is how compact and picturesque it is—you can basically walk anywhere and take in the view in the process.