With 25 years’ experience collaborating on software-intensive projects for the Australian Department of Defence, Dr Ricardo Peculis has recently joined SMART Infrastructure Facility as a Senior Research Fellow, marking a new chapter in his career.

Dr Peculis’ connection with the Facility dates back to his PhD, which was partly supervised by Professor Peter Campbell, now an Honorary Professorial Fellow at SMART, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee. His PhD in Computer Systems and Engineering, which Dr Peculis completed in 2012 through the University of South Australia, was inspired by a desire to “contribute in a different way,” to the industry which originally brought him to Australia from Brazil.

“I worked for 25 years in defence projects that took years to complete,” explained Dr Peculis, remembering one particular project that was cancelled after he had spent nine years working on it, including two years in the United States and seven years in Australia. “I wanted to know, why is it so difficult to succeed in software-intensive projects?” This question led to the development of a framework for steering rather than controlling software-intensive acquisitions towards success. Dr Peculis applied agent-based modelling and simulation to explore the social system that develops complex software-intensive systems and testing hypotheses formulated by the research, which produced a number of published papers in the fields of software-intensive acquisitions and social modelling and simulation.

Spurred on by the results of his research, when Professor Campbell told Dr Peculis there may be a suitable role for him at SMART, the systems engineering specialist seized the opportunity, describing it as the “ideal place” to pass on his industry experience and concepts.

Welcoming the appointment, Professor Pascal Perez, Director, SMART Research Facility, said, “Ricardo brings to SMART both deep theoretical knowledge on Systems Engineering and a unique expertise in managing and delivering complex engineering projects in sensitive industries like Defence.”