PO Box 400740 Charlottesville, Virginia 22904


Kevin Sullivan obtained his background in computer science from Tufts University (1987), working most closely with David Krumme, and in graduate school at the University of Washington, working with David Notkin (MS, 1994, PhD, 1994).

Kevin's graduate work set him to thinking about the evolvability, and actual evolution, of software as its most important sources of value, but as a property that is also astonishing hard to achieve and maintain in a medium that is understood by its very name to be "soft."

Kevin joined UVa as Assistant Professor of Computer Science in 1994 and has worked at UVa since then. He has worked in areas including software evolvability (including notions of the options value of modularity in design and how to reconcile the modularity-breaking potential of aspect-oriented programming with the need for abstraction and information hiding modularity to preserve evolvability properties); in value-based software engineering (seeking to better understand how to link software design to broader economic objectives, rather than from merely technical notions of design excellence), and on formal methods for software and systems assurance (including modest recently his work with John Knight and Jian Xiang on rela-world types and interpreted formalisms).

One of Kevin's current areas of work is in the establishment of a discipline of cyber-social learning systems, drawing together knowledge from a diversity of areas to inform the design of 21st century service systems: in healthcare, education, defense, and many other sectors of society.


B.S. ​Tufts University, 1987

M.S. ​University of Washington, 1990

Ph.D. ​University of Washington, 1994

"I aim to catalyze a self-regenerative transformation of critical sectors of our society into far better performing cyber-social learning systems."


Research Interests

Human Factors
Software Engineering
Programming Languages and Compilers

Selected Publications

Toward an Information Infrastructure for Global Health Improvement, IMIA Yearbook, 2017 CP FRIEDMAN, JC RUBIN, KJ SULLIVAN
Is My Software Consistent with the Real World? High Assurance Systems Engineering (HASE), 2017 J XIANG, J KNIGHT, K SULLIVAN
Ultra-large-scale systems: The software challenge of the future, Software Engineering Institute, 2006. NORTHROP, LINDA ; FEILER, PETER ; GABRIEL, RICHARD P ; GOODENOUGH, JOHN ; LINGER, RICK ; LONGSTAFF, TOM ; KAZMAN, RICK ; KLEIN, MARK ; DOUGLAS SCHMIDT, ; SULLIVAN, KEVIN ; WALLNAU, KURT
The structure and value of modularity in software design, ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, 2001 KJ SULLIVAN, WG GRISWOLD, Y CAI, B HALLEN
Software design as an investment activity: a real options perspective, Real options and business strategy, Risk Books, 1999. KJ SULLIVAN, P CHALASANI, S JHA, V SAZAWAL

Courses Taught