About Me

I’m a Professor of Software Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology and Director of Florida Tech’s Center for Software Testing Education & Research. I teach and do research in software engineering, primarily software testing, software metrics, and computer law & ethics.

My career is centered around a consistent theme: Enhancing the satisfaction and safety of software customers, users, and developers.

This is a focused theme, but it crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. To pursue it, I’ve had to study and work in many areas (psychology, law, programming, testing, technical writing, sales), applying what I learn from each to the central software satisfaction problems.

I hold a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from McMaster University (graduated 1984). My dissertation was in the area of psychophysics–the measurement of perceptual experiences. I did some work on the human factors of computing and have since worked as a user interface designer and programmer. My undergraduate work (Brock University, 1974) was primarily in mathematics and philosophy.

I also hold a law degree (J.D. Golden Gate University, 1994) and have done a lot of work on the development of the law of software quality. The American Law Institute elected me to membership in 1999, in recognition of this work. David Pels’ and my book, Bad Software: What To Do When Software Fails, exemplifies our interdisciplinary approach to the law of software quality.

As a software developer, I’ve been a programmer, software development manager, tester, test manager, writer, technical publications manager, director (managing primarily the writing and test groups), software salesperson, and an associate in an organization development consulting firm. I became a full-time consultant in 1994 and in the course of that, I formed (and temporarily managed) testing, tech writing and programming groups, and provided a range of other management and technical consulting services.

Cem Kaner
Professor of Software Engineering
Department of Computer Sciences
Florida Institute of Technology
150 West University Blvd.
Melbourne, FL 32907

Email: kaner@kaner.com



  • J.D. (law degree), Golden Gate University, California 1994.
  • Ph.D. (experimental psychology), McMaster University, Ontario, 1984.
  • B.A. (arts & sciences, primarily math & philosophy), Brock University, Ontario, 1974

Current Research Interests:

  • Software testing: What are the effective software testing methods, when are they effective, how do we know they are effective, and how do we train people in them? Context-sensitive approaches to testing process; agile methods of software testing and software engineering.
  • Teaching: Software testers are skilled technical investigators. Procedurally-focused training is no way to help people learn how to do complex investigations. So what is? To make progress in this, we’re doing collaborative work in computing, psychology, anthropology, education (and probably other fields).
  • Software metrics: Measurement theory is a multidisciplinary area of work. In the development of software measurements, we have a lot to gain from insights in other disciplines such as psychology and physics.
  • Software usability: What makes software easy and pleasant to use? What methods of communicating about the capabilities, common uses, and faults of software are the most effective? How do we train people to be skilled designers and technical communicators?
  • Law of software quality: What stable balances can be achieved between the needs, rights, and risk limitations of software publishers, individual software developers, customers, users, and third parties who are affected by defective systems?

Community Service

  • Elected to the American Law Institute. One of the most prestigious organizations of attorneys in the country, memberships are life-long and the Institute’s total membership is limited to 3000. This organization drafts legislation, treaties, and the Restatements (of Torts, Products Liability, Agency, Contracts, etc.), a series of authoritative treaties that are heavily relied on by appellate judges. May 1999-present.
  • Legislative drafting and advocacy. Extensive participation in the drafting of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (as an advocate for customers and small software development firms), the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, and the forthcoming revision of Uniform Commercial Code, Article 2 (law of sales of goods). From 1996 to mid-2000, this work (including the associated research, writing and speaking) took about 1/3 of my time, on a pro bono (unpaid volunteer) basis. Also participated in the United States’ Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law: Study Group on Electronic Commerce (1997 – 1998).
  • Workshops on software testing.
    Brian Lawrence and I cofounded the Los Altos Workshops on Software Testing (LAWST), starting a trend that has yielded at least 45 workshops so far. These are invitation-only, in-depth discussions by senior members of the testing community. A typical meeting spends 1/3 to 1/2 of its time on formal presentations, the rest on discussion of the presentations or ideas arising out of the presentations. We spend as much time on an individual presentation as the group wants to spend. Sometimes, it’s one minute. We spent an entire day on one short paper, and that day’s debate motivated the development of two courses on software test automation. The meeting formats vary from informal presentations (typical of LAWST) to much more formal ones. See the Workshop on the Teaching of Software Testing for a formal example. All of these workshops are strictly noncommercial. The typical workshop doesn’t charge any admission fee. A few charge a fee that almostcovers the cost of the meeting room. I’ve helped organize (including facilitating or hosting):

    • Los Altos Workshops on Software Testing (LAWST)
    • Software Test Managers Roundtables (STMR)
    • Workshops on Hueristic & Exploratory Techniques (WHET)
    • Austin Workshops on Test Automation (AWTA)
    • Workshop on Patterns of Software Testing (POST)
    • Workshop on Model-Based Testing (WOMBAT)
    • Mountain Enterprise Testing Workshops (METRO)
  • Member of Florida Tech’s Intellectual Property Committee (2001-2002), University Senate (2002-2003), and Institutional Review Board (2002-present).
  • Curriculum Committee Chair in Florida Tech’s Computer Sciences Department. Led a major redefinition of the M.Sc. in Software Engineering and the creation of the B.Sc. program in Software Engineering. (2001-2002)
  • Deputy District Attorney. Full-time volunteer, Santa Clara County. From April to July, 1994, I handled 135 cases and five trials.
  • Grievance Officer and Contract Advisor. National Writers Union. 1995-present.
  • Executive Committee, Santa Clara County Bar Association High Tech Law Section (1997 – 1999).
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Northern California Hemophilia Foundation (1995-1996).


  • Senior Member: American Society for Quality, Society for Technical Communication.
  • Member: Association for Computing Machinery (including SIGDOC and SIGCHI), Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineering (including the Computer Society & Reliability Society)
  • Member, National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981 AFL-CIO)
  • Member, American Bar Association, American Law Institute, California State Bar Association. National Association of Consumer Attorneys, Computer Law Association, American Intellectual Property Association
  • Member, American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, Human Factors & Ergonomics Society
  • Member, Software Support Professionals Association.

Professional Experience

  • Director, Center for Software Testing Education & Research, Florida Institute of Technology, November 2003 – present.
  • Professor of Software Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology August 2000 – present
  • Extension Instructor, University of California Extension (Berkeley and Santa Cruz), 1994-2000
  • Attorney, Law Office of Cem Kaner, 1994-2000 [Typical clients were authors and software developers or small software consulting firms.]
  • Proprietor, kaner.com (software consulting firm), 1993-present [My clients have included Avid Technologies, Aveo, Barra, BEA Systems, BMC, Broderbund Software, Catalysis (and through them, the California Dept of Transportation), CDI, Cognos, Compaq, Fenwick & West, Fonix, Gilbarco, Hammer Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, IDTS, Intel, Iomega, Kodak, Metamor (Vanteon, Turning Point Software), Microsoft, MyTurn.com, New Paradigms, Oracle / Network Computer (now Liberate Technologies), OrCAD, Parametric Technologies, Peoplesoft, Postalsoft, PowerQuest, Quarterdeck, Reliable Software Technologies (now Cigital), Rational Software, Safeco, ShareData (now E-Trade), Software AG, Software Quality Engineering, Software Test Labs, Stevedoring Services of America, Symantec, Testing Testing 123, the WELL, and Wind River]
  • Deputy District Attorney (full-time volunteer), Santa Clara County, April 1994-July 1994.
  • Law Clerk, (part-time) Law Office of Berne Reuben, Dec. 1993-April 1994.
  • Director of Documentation and Software Testing; Documentation Group Manager; Software Development Manager, Power Up Software (later Spinnaker Software), 1989-1994.
  • Software Sales (part time), Egghead Software, 1989.
  • Software Test Manager, Creativity Division, Electronic Arts, 1988.
  • Human Factors Analyst / Software Engineer, Telenova, Inc., 1984-1987.
  • Software Testing Supervisor, MicroPro International Corporation (WordStar), 1983-1984
  • Associate, then Senior Associate, Psylomar Organization Development, 1983-1984.

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