Contact details


Lederle Graduate Research Tower

Amherst, MA 01003
United States



Research Interests

Modeling and analysis of distributed and concurrent systems, including those with human participants

Professor Avrunin's research has ranged from the cohomology and representation theory of finite groups to utility theory and models of individual choice and social conflict.  Much of his work has involved methods for determining whether any execution of a concurrent or distributed system can violate a given property or requirement. This work focuses on finite-state verification: techniques that involve construction and analysis of suitable finite models that represent all possible executions of the system under consideration. As part of this work, he also studies problems related to the precise specification of the requirements the system must meet.  His recent work focuses on the modeling and analysis of human-intensive systems, those in which human participants cooperate with hardware and software components to carry out the mission of the system.   Avrunin's work has involved complex medical and election processes, where formal definition and analysis of the processes can help reduce both medical errors and cost and can increase the security of elections, and is currently focused on providing patient-, clinician-, and context-aware guidance in cardiac surgery.

His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Office, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Institutes of Health.  In 2006, he was named a Distinguished Scientist by the Association for Computing Machinery.  His 1999 paper with M. B. Dwyer and J. C. Corbett won the 2021 Impact Paper Award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering for "enabling widespread use of temporal logic for program verification by raising the level of abstraction to common patterns." (The ACM's Guide to the Computing Literature lists the paper as the third-most cited paper in software engineering.)

Professor Avrunin was General Chair of the 2004 ACM International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, was a member of the editorial board of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology from 2005 through 2012, and has served on many program committees for software engineering conferences. He was Associate Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics from 2002 to 2008 and 2016 to 2018, and Head from 2008 to 2011, as well as Acting Head in 2005 and 2017.

He was also the lead Principal Investigator on the National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership grant that provided initial funding for the Western Massachusetts Mathematics Partnership, a partnership of teachers and administrators from local school districts and faculty from area colleges working to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics at all levels in Western Massachusetts.  Although the NSF funding has ended, the WMMP continues to sponsor a variety of activities with support from Five Colleges, Mount Holyoke College, and the school districts.  Avrunin continues to participate in the work of the WMMP, including its K-16 Professional Learning Communities.