Will Leeson

The point of the journey is not to arrive — Neil Peart


About Me

My name is Will Leeson. I’m a Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia studying under Matt Dwyer and a member of the LESS Lab. I earned degrees in Computer Science and Data Analytics from Drake University.

My research area is software engineering, specifically software verification and testing. Software dominates the world. It’s important that any software that can affect people be thoroughly examined for safety issues. In most testing and verification tools, there are design decisions which fall to heuristics designed by humans, e.g. how should the tool explore the state space. Humans are invariably biased, which often leads to suboptimal heuristics. My research focusses on using machine learning to replace these heuristics, allowing the data to decide how to make decisions, making the tools less reliant on the knowledge of the engineer that designed it and more effective at finding bugs and proving properties.

Personal Life

I’m originally from Tinley Park, a suburb of Chicago. I’m a midwesterner at heart, and I will defend deep dish pizza until the day I die. I enjoy playing sports, watching great movies, cooking, and playing video and board games with friends. Above all else, music is my favorite hobby, whether it be listening or playing. My parents got me interested at an early age and it spiraled out of control from there. I like most genres, but I particularly love folk and progressive rock.


Nov 22, 2023 I’m thrilled to announce I’ve accepted an tenure-track position in the Math, Statistics, and Computer Science department at St. Olaf College!
Nov 10, 2023 “Algorithm Selection for Software Verification using Graph Neural Networks” was accepted by TOSEM as a journal first paper on their AI for SE track!
Oct 25, 2023 I passed my dissertation proposal! Now I gotta do what I promised :sweat_smile: