The main focus of my PhD research is focused on the question of what it means to make software intense systems, such as robots or algorithmic decision systems, accountable. The general problem here is that such systems become pervasive in our society and make decisions that directly affect human lives. It is unclear how the power of such systems should be kept in check. To this end my collaborators and I suggest to use Structural Causal Models (SCMs), a novel mathematical method to express causality, to model the accountability relations in systems.

Ethical Software Engineering


  1. Pöchhacker, N., & Kacianka, S. (2020). Algorithmic Accountability in Context. Socio-technical perspectives on structural causal model. Frontiers in Big Data, 3, 55.
  2. Ibrahim, A., Kacianka, S., Pretschner, A., Hartsell, C., & Karsai, G. (2019, May). Practical causal models for cyber-physical systems. In NASA Formal Methods Symposium (pp. 211-227). Springer, Cham.
  3. Kacianka, S., Ibrahim, A., Pretschner, A., Trende, A., & Lüdtke, A. (2019). Extending Causal Models from Machines into Humans. arXiv preprint arXiv:1911.04869.
  4. S. Kacianka and A. Pretschner (2018) Understanding and Formalizing Accountability for Cyber-Physical Systems In: 2018 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC), Myiazaki, Japan
  5. S. Kacianka, K. Beckers, F. Kelbert, P. Kumari (2017) How Accountability is Implemented and Understood in Research Tools. In: Felderer M., Méndez Fernández D., Turhan B., Kalinowski M., Sarro F., Winkler D. (eds) Product-Focused Software Process Improvement. PROFES 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10611. Springer, Cham
  6. B. Dieber, B. Breiling, S. Taurer, S. Kacianka, S. Rass, P. Schartner, Security for the Robot Operating System, Robotics and Autonomous Systems(2017),
  7. C. Cârlan, B. Gallina, S. Kacianka, and R. Breu, “Arguing on Software-Level Verification Techniques Appropriateness,” International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability, and Security (SAFECOMP), Trento, Italy, 2017, pp. 39-54. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-66266-4_3
  8. B. Dieber, S. Kacianka, S. Rass and P. Schartner, “Application-level security for ROS-based applications,” 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Daejeon, South Korea, 2016, pp. 4477-4482. doi: 10.1109/IROS.2016.7759659
  9. S. Kacianka, F. Kelbert, and A. Pretschner, (2016). “Towards a unified model of accountability infrastructures.” Proceedings First Workshop on Causal Reasoning for Embedded and safety-critical Systems Technologies, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 8th April 2016, volume 224 of Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science, pages 40–54. Open Publishing Association. doi:
  10. S. Kacianka and H. Hellwagner, (2015) “Adaptive Video Streaming for UAV Networks.” In Proceedings of the 7th ACM International Workshop on Mobile Video (MoVid ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 25-30. DOI=