Ishbel Mary Macdonald Duncan


  • KY16 9SS

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

PhD projects

Software testing; systems security; penetration testing; data sciences; computer supported education

Personal profile

Research overview

Current Research Projects.

I am currently working on security evaluation and vulnerability detection and recently had two PhD students graduate in cloud virtual network security and machine learning for Intrusion Detection. I am the Director of the Cyber Nexus project (£420K, Scottish Government) tying together industry and academia.  I was also an original CI on the Abertay driven Tay Cities Cyber Security quarter which became an Abertay only submission and was finally funded at £20M.

I am also active in developing Virtual Worlds ( which includes representations of the St Andrews Castle and Cathedral, Linlithgow Palace etc. I worked on a Virtual St Andrews (ViStA) for international student orientation, information, online teaching, meetings, university history, town information etc. This involves staff across the University and is led by myself, Alan Miller (CS) and Janie Brooks (ELT). My current work is on the Virtual Dive Experience with the Sea Bird Centre at North Berwick. I am CI on two projects run by Alan Miller; the CINE Northern Periphery and arctic Programme (EU 200K) and the CUPIDO project for Cultural Heritage SMEs (EU20K share of EU2million overall project).


Previous projects include:

Privacy, Security and Trust: - requirements engineering for privacy and security in computational systems - e- voting: polsterless remote electronic voting - network security: Denial of Service detection and defence

Agent Based Learning : Using knowledge of failure to guide student learning of Java.

Visualisation of Biochemical Pathways : with SCRI and University of Abertay-Dundee, visualising pathways from plant, human and animal domains.

Visualisation of Software Testing and Metrics : Metrics used to measure test thoroughness, data and logic complexity and failure density within systems.

Some of the research strategies are: Modelling predicate logic and data inconsistencies in code. Using intelligent agents to locate code and design inconsistencies to aid student centred learning of JAVA. Visualising the data space of functions and reduction of the data space by parameter passing. Visualising the test process, via metrics or coverage of predicates and data domains. Analysis of the sparseness/clustering of data and the effect on system execution.

Verification and dynamic testing of Large Scale Code/Grid data

Research interests

Security Testing, Visualisation and Evaluation.

Visualisation of Agents or Testing.

Education; especially learning to program.

Anything to do with software testing.

Other expertise

Security, testing, metrics, system failures (Computer Science)

Future research

Visualisation of complex systems : computational and biochemical. Network security : generic Denial of Service with adaptive learning. Privacy, Security and Trust of on-line systems such as e-voting, e-government, e-commerce. Large Scale Distributed Software Testing: techniques for determining adequacy of tests via statistical or probablistic sampling.

Industrial relevance

NHS, BT, NCR, Microsoft

Academic/Professional Qualification

Ph.D., University of Durham; B.Sc., University of St Andrews

Member of the IEEE, ACM and ISSA organisations.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Strong Mutation Testing, UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM

1 Oct 198924 Dec 1993


  • QA76 Computer software
  • Security
  • Evaluation
  • L Education (General)
  • constructive
  • experiential


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