Saturday 21st of January 2017
On 04th June 2012

An Exclusive Interview with Narender Singh from the Department of Computer Science and Applications, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, India

"The great beneficiaries of open access publications are mostly users in developing countries, where currently many universities find it difficult to pay for subscriptions fees to access the most recent journals. Thus, I make a humble request to everyone to contribute in open-access proceedings."

I am Narender Singh, an Assistant Professor in Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Mullana-Ambala, India. I am currently pursuing PhD in Computer Science under the supervision of a renowned academician and researcher - Prof. Nasib Singh Gill from Department of Computer Science and Applications, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, India. I have earned my MCA and M.Phil degrees from the Department of Computer Science and Applications, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, India in 2006 and 2008 respectively. I have published more than six research papers in both national and international journals and conference proceedings. My research interests include Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering and Software Product Lines.

How did you gain interest in Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering?
While I was earning my M.Phil (Computer Science) degree, my supervisor suggested me to work in the field of software engineering. As we know, software engineering was introduced to cope with software crisis with two fundamental principles: separation of concerns and modularity. Complex software systems were successfully modularized but complete separation of concerns is still impossible to achieve using today's most popular programming paradigms such as object-oriented programming. Aspect-Oriented Software Development (AOSD) is another step towards achieving improved modularity during software development. It gives emphasis to the separation of crosscutting concerns and provides a solution to some difficulties encountered with object-oriented programming, sometimes scattering and tangling. AOSD was first introduced at programming level, with Aspect-Oriented Programming, where aspects are handled in code. A number of Aspect-Oriented Programming approaches have been proposed. Work has also been carried out incorporate aspects, and hence separation of crosscutting concerns at the design level. Research in the early phases of software development with aspect-oriented paradigm is still immature with many open research issues. Handling crosscutting concerns in the early stages of software development is beneficial rather than handling them in later stages of software development because it not only make the design simpler, but also help to reduce the cost and defects that occur in the later stages of development. Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering (AORE) is an early phase in AOSD that supports separation of crosscutting concerns at requirements level. Hence, I gained interest in Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering.

What did you investigate in your last publication?
My last paper entitled "Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering for Advanced Separation of Concerns: A Review" was published in the International Journal of Computer Science Issues, IJCSI, Vol. 8, Issue 5, No 2, September 2011. In the paper, an attempt is made to highlight the concept of Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering (AORE) for advanced separation of concerns i.e. AORE for handling crosscutting concerns at the early stage of software development. Further, an attempt is made to review the existing approaches in literature and understand their contribution to requirements engineering field. A roadmap to research in this field is also presented in that paper.

How do you approach research? How long does it take to complete a paper?
For conducting research in a particular area, I first collect and review related articles and then try to summarize some proposed strategies that have or might be applied in that research area. The strategies ranging from proposing new ideas and techniques, advancing the current research, to adapting previous results to a new context, to evaluating or comparing technologies. Each strategy attempts to achieve a slightly different research objective, but all contribute in some way to advancing the state of the art, either by adding new knowledge or by improving the maturity of previous work. Then I try to formulate the research problem that seems to have a lot of future scope. After defining the research problem, I try to find the solution first by myself that is not proposed in the literature and also compare that with already existing solutions in literature. Once I feel it is good, I always discuss it with my supervisor and continuously refine it until the targeted objective is achieved. The time to complete a research paper depends on the complexity of the problem. But, it usually takes 3-4 months to complete a paper.

What are the most interesting or surprising things you have learned about since your arrival at your current workplace?
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. If you want to be successful, it's just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.

What topics have you been teaching until now at the Maharishi Markandeshwar University?
Currently I am teaching programming languages like Object-Oriented Programming with C++, Programming in C, and Visual Basic 6.0. Previously, I had taught topics like Software Engineering, DBMS, Oracle, and Discrete Mathematics.

What was your most successful moment?
Success is a journey, not a destination. Many things happen in our life, but few, which we termed as successful. Of course, when my first research paper published in an international journal "Atti Della Fondazoine Giorgio Ronchi", it was my most successful moment. Secondly, but not least, when I got e-mail from IJCSI journal about my exclusive interview, it was also the most successful moment.

What would be your recommendation(s) and advise to young researchers who would want to pursue research in Aspect-Oriented Requirements Engineering?
There are a lot of traditional (non-AO) requirements engineering approaches in literature like Use Cases, Goals, and Viewpoints based approaches. All these approaches provide well support for identification and treatment of requirements. But, they lacks in explicitly supporting and handling the crosscutting concerns. The major motivation factor in the invention of AORE approaches is to remove some of the flaws encountered in traditional requirements engineering approaches. Lots of work in the area of AORE have been done with some success, but these works are not sufficient to handle all the flaws encountered. There are many challenges and issues that need to be explored and solved. So, it is really a rich, young and dynamic research area and the scope of possible research directions is quite large.

What are the current research projects you are working on?
Currently, I am working towards completing my PhD. The focus of my research work is on handling crosscutting concerns during requirements phase and to propose a new requirements engineering model for advanced separation of concerns using aspect-oriented concepts. In our last paper, we have proposed such an approach that incorporates aspect-oriented concepts. Our ongoing work is on extending the description of the approach and presenting an integrated AORE process model. Still, we need to validate our approach by applying it on some case studies. We are in progress towards it and beieve to achieve it in the near future.

Were you inspired by a famous scientist or engineer?
I am inspired by two renowned academicians and researchers. I would like to thank my M.Phil supervisor, Dr. Rajender Nath, for keeping me focused, providing amazing guidance and feedback and showing me the ropes in the world of academic research. Further, my sincere thanks go to my PhD supervisor Prof. Nasib Singh Gill, for his wisdom, clarity of thought, assistance during challenging and sometimes daunting process, which has been emotionally and physically draining me, and bringing me to the present state.

What is your feeling about open-access publication? Do you recommend it?
Yes, I recommend open-access publication. Open-access publication provides an opportunity to openly access research articles. The more the article is used, cited, applied and built upon, the better for research as well as for the researchers' career by maximizing their research impact. Also, it facilitates researchers to quickly accessing the research articles, hence, reducing publication delays - an obstacle which led many research fields to traditions of widespread preprint access. Open access helps researchers as readers by opening up access to articles that their libraries do not subscribe to. The great beneficiaries of open access publications are mostly users in developing countries, where currently many universities find it difficult to pay for subscriptions fees to access the most recent journals. Thus, I make a humble request to everyone to contribute in open-access proceedings.

My hobbies include listening music (especially Indian Gazals and Sufi music), swimming, and gardening.

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