Gail E. Kaiser is a Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the Programming Systems Laboratory in the Computer Science Department at Columbia University. Prof. Kaiser's research interests lie at the boundary of software engineering and software systems, focusing on program analysis and software testing, software reliability and security, and social software engineering. Her lab has been funded by NSF, NIH, DARPA, ONR, NASA, NYS Science & Technology Foundation, and numerous companies. Prof. Kaiser served on the editorial board of IEEE Internet Computing for many years, was a founding associate editor of ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology, and chaired an ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering. She also served on the Committee of Examiners for the Educational Testing Service for three years, and has chaired the department's doctoral programs since 1997. Prof. Kaiser received her PhD from CMU and her ScB from MIT. See her CV at


Prof. Kaiser will teach COMS W4156 Advanced Software Engineering in Fall 2016. This is a lecture and lab course that focuses on how to develop web applications leveraging open-source software, third-party frameworks, and industry-standard best practices and tools. The course will cover modern agile processes, object-oriented design, and continuous integration, with a strong emphasis on rigorous testing for both conventional bugs and security vulnerabilities. 4156 ("ASE") is required for the MS computer security and software systems tracks. MS students from other tracks, undergraduate CS/CE majors, and non-majors who have completed COMS W3157 or equivalent are strongly encouraged to take the course; ignore any "caps" from the registrar's office, if you add yourself to the waitlist I will accept you for enrollment. However, I should warn that attendance will be required this fall and several team exercises will be conducted during class; on-campus students cannot take another course offered at the same time. CVN students are also welcome, and will interact with their teams using remote collaboration technologies and submit "commentaries" for each lecture video. Here is a link to the main textbook. Here is the list of topics covered in Fall 2015, the syllabus will change somewhat in Fall 2016 to more strongly emphasize continuous integration. Here is an archive of the team project proposals from Fall 2015.

Prof. Kaiser is seeking undergraduate and MS project students to start in Fall 2016, with preference for students who might be available for two or more consecutive semesters. Contact her (by email) if interested. Particularly seeking students who have, or would like to acquire, deep understanding of the JVM, record-replay technology, and static and dynamic program analyses. This set of projects is most suited for students who have completed both 4115 and 4156 (or equivalents), or are taking concurrently. A team of collaborating students would be ideal, but several individual projects are also available.

Prof. Kaiser will teach COMS E6156 Topics in Software Engineering again in Spring 2017. This is a software systems graduate seminar where students choose their own topics within software engineering, broadly construed, for their presentations, midterm papers and final projects. Undergraduates and non-CS students are very welcome with instructor approval. This course is suitable for students interested in investigation and discussion, and inappropriate for students who just want to listen to lectures and do homeworks. More information is available here.


Breaking News (11/12/15): 'Seek Funding' Step Added To Scientific Method

Slides from Prof. Kaiser's "Distinguished Lecture" at the University of Southern California from April 18, 2013.

Alex Orso's advice on how to get your paper accepted at a top software engineering conference.

Prof. Kaiser's advice on finding "related work" for conference papers.

Prem Devanbu's Review Anti-Patterns.

Automatic Systems Research Topic or Paper Title Generator




Current Academic Visitors:

Current PSL Doctoral Students:

Current PSL MS GRAs:

Former PSL Doctoral Students, MS GRAs, Staff and Visitors:


Prof. Kaiser's Greatest Achievement 


Prof. Gail E. Kaiser
Columbia University
Department of Computer Science
[snailmail: 1214 Amsterdam Avenue
Mail Code 0401]

[express/package delivery:
500 W. 120th St., Room 450]
New York, NY 10027
United States
voicemail: 212-939-7081
lab: 212-939-7100
department main number: 212-939-7000

Last updated July 17, 2016 .
Gail E. Kaiser.