ir. Jens Van der Plas

Doctoral Researcher at Software Languages Lab, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Doctoral Researcher

August 2019 - present, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Funded by Research Foundation Flanders - FWO from November 2019 until October 2023

My field of research concerns static software analysis. My current work concerns the development of a general incrementalisation technique for modular static program analyses that can be applied to highly-dynamic higher-order languages.

Research Training

July 2017, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

This Research Training at the Department of Systems and Computing Engineering (Departamento de Ingeniería de Sistemas y Computación) of the Universidad de Los Andes was part of my Master’s programme in Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. During this training, I worked together with researchers from Universidad de Los Andes’ computer science department in Bogotá, Colombia. The aim of this research training was to conduct a small research project in the field of model-driven software engineering. The actual goal was to find out whether there are frequently occurring patterns in model transformations and, if so, to define design patterns for model transformations, based on our findings.

I also helped correcting and grading local students’ programming assignments in Scheme for the course “Programación funcional con aplicación en Scala” (Functional Programming Applied to Scala).


Doctor of Sciences

2019 - present, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Master of Science in Applied Sciences and Engineering: Computer Science

2017 - 2019, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Profile: Software Languages and Software Engineering

My Master’s thesis is titled “Incremental Thread-Modular Static Analysis for Concurrent Programs with Futures and Atoms“.

In this thesis, I present two contributions to the state of the art in static analysis of concurrent programs. First, I apply the AAM technique of Van Horn & Might to a concurrent higher-order language with futures and atomic variables. Second, I present a new algorithm that incrementally constructs the analysis result for a concurrent program. I find that this new algorithm results in reduced analysis times and discuss several optimisations that are possible.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

2014 - 2017, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

My Bachelor’s thesis is titled “Ondersteuning voor R5RS-Scheme in het SCALA-AM Framework – Uitbreiding en Benchmarking van SCALA-AM“.

For this thesis, I extend SCALA-AM, a modular framework used for static code analysis written in Scala, by implementing primitive functions of R5RS Scheme. I also explore possible ways to support quasiquoting but uncover some difficulties with the design of the framework with regard to this. The last part of the thesis consists out of benchmarking the framework and making a comparative overview of how my extensions to the framework improve its compliance with the R5RS Scheme standard.


2008 - 2014, Sint-Jan Berchmansinstituut Puurs

Deeltijds Kunstonderwijs (DKO)

2004 - 2014, 2019 - present, Academie voor Muziek, Woord en Dans Bornem

Obtained “Getuigschrift Hogere Graad” in June 2014

Obtained “Beroepskwalificatie Amateur creërend muzikant” (VKS/EQS level 4) in June 2023

Followed courses
  • Piano (2023-present, Stefaan Desmet, 2 class times)
  • Piano (2019-2023, Stefaan Desmet)
  • Groepsmusiceren (2020-present, Pieter Stas)
  • Muziektheorie (2019-2022, Dirk De Nef)
  • Algemene Muziektheorie AMT (2011-2014, Dirk De Nef)
  • Begeleidingspraktijk piano BP (2008-2014, Barbara Baltussen)
  • Piano – Optie Instrument (2005-2014, Stefaan Desmet)
  • Algemene Muziekcultuur AMC (2008-2011, Ludwig Jansegers)
  • Algemene Muzikale Vorming AMV (2004-2008, Jeannine Le Blanc (L1-L3)/Nele Joosen (L4))


Member of Faculty Council & Faculty Board

I am a member of the Faculty Council (“Faculteitsraad”) of the Faculty of Sciences and Bio-engineering Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels since mid-2019, in which I represent the “Overig Academisch Personeel” (OAP) of the Department of Computer Science. Since mid-2023, I’m also a member of the Faculty Board (“Faculteitsbestuur”), representing the OAP of the entire faculty.

Teaching Assistant

During my PhD, I have been a teaching assistant of the following courses that are part of the bachelor program in Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit Brussel:

  • Cloud Computing and Big Data Processing (since academic year 2023-2024): As teaching assistant for the part on Big Data Processing, my lab sessions focussed on Apache Spark, including a.o. Spark SQL and Spark Streaming.
  • Object-Oriented Systems (since academic year 2022-2023): This course covers a.o. UML diagrams (class diagram, state diagram and sequence diagrams), their relation to code and design patterns.
  • Parallelism & Distribution (from academic year 2019-2020 until 2022-2023 (incl.): In this course, the basics of parallelism (using the Java Fork/Join framework), concurrency and distributed systems and technologies (Java RMI, sockets, actors, tuple spaces,…) are covered.

I’ve also supervised several bachelor and master students during their theses in the field of static analysis.

Bachelor theses:

  • Arman Kolozyan: Dependency-Driven Worklist Heuristics for Modular Analyses (2022-2023)
  • Abdullah Sabaa Allil: Optimising Static Program Analysis using Scala Native (2022-2023)
  • Thomas Vandermotten: Optimizing Scheme Programs using Static Analysis (2022-2023)
  • Turgut Reis Kursun: RacketLogger: Logging Changes from the DrRacket Code Editor (2020-2021)

Master theses:

  • Andes Van Lancker: Modular WCET Analysis of Dynamic Higher-order Programs (2022-2023)
  • Christophe Van den Eede: Error Ranking for Higher-order Programs using Static Profiling (2022-2023)
  • Turgut Reis Kursun: Time and Space Efficient Delta Debugging for Scheme (2022-2023)
  • Cindy Wauters: Transforming Analysis Results According to Source Code Change Patterns (2021-2022)

Student Representative

October 2015 - June 2019, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an institute in which student representatives are full members of all committees governing the university. Being a student representative thus allows me to use my vision and experience as a student to help giving direction to the long-term evolution of the university and the computer science programme. It also allowed me to report any problems that may arise so that they could be solved as fast as possible.

I was a member of five different committees, which are for example responsible for managing the computer science curriculum and for scheduling the exams.

Student Volunteer

April 2017

I was a student volunteer at the International Conference on the Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming, <Programming> 2017.


BrEA prize for Computer Science 2019

December 2019, issued by BrEA (Brussels Engineering Alumni)

A prize that rewards students for an exceptional achievement in connection with their graduation work.