Dirk Riehle Half-Page Biography

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle is the Professor for Open Source Software at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Before joining academia, Riehle led the Open Source Research Group at SAP Labs, LLC, in Palo Alto, California (Silicon Valley). Before this, he was the co-founder of an on-demand business software startup in Berlin, Germany, which used agile methods and strategically employed open source software. Riehle is interested in the principles of open collaboration, as found most notably in open source and inner source software engineering. He is also interested in agile methods, continuous delivery, complexity science, human collaboration, and software design. An important tenet of Riehle’s research is that it can (and has been) turned into successful software startups. Prof. Riehle holds a Ph.D. in computer science from ETH Zürich and an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School. He welcomes email at dirk@riehle.org, blogs at https://dirkriehle.com, and tweets as @dirkriehle.

In more detail: Riehle’s dissertation at ETH Zurich on object-oriented frameworks and design patterns explored the use of collaboration-based design (then called role modeling) to reduce complexity in the engineering of object-oriented software systems. It emphasized the use of design patterns in framework design and construction. He also translated the seminal Design Patterns book into German, all while employed at UBS’ Ubilab, a Zurich-based industrial research lab, during the late 1990s. From 1999 to 2002, Riehle lead the design and implementation of the first UML virtual machine at a Boston-based software startup. The UML VM interpreted UML models as programs and made it faster, better, and cheaper to develop business applications. UML was treated as a framework for domain-specific languages for different aspects of business modeling. After receiving an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School, Riehle co-founded a software startup in Berlin, Germany that provided on-demand software (SaaS) to small businesses. In 2006, he moved back to the United States to work for SAP in the Silicon Valley, where he was the principal investigator of open source and Web 2.0 applications research. In 2009 he moved to Germany for his current position as a professor at the University of Erlangen.

Riehle has published in leading ACM, IEEE, and other journals and conferences. His publication record comprises more than 50 peer-reviewed and well-cited academic papers. He is a regular reviewer for leading journals including ACM TOSEM, IEEE TSE, etc. as well as German funding agencies, most notably the DFG (German NSF). He is the founder and chairman of the steering committee of the International Symposium on Open Collaboration conference series and a founding member of the steering committee of the Onward! conference series. He is a member emeritus of the board and prior treasurer of the Hillside Group, the U.S.-based non-profit behind the software patterns community. He is a frequent speaker at academic conferences and colloquia and industry events alike.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Riehle is a senior member of the ACM and a professional member of the IEEE.

Also see the short one-paragraph bio.


  1. […] German ICE trains!), Nürnberg. I had a meeting with one of the world’s open source leaders, Professor Dr. Dirk Riehle. He had perfect ideas for my research work and gave me invaluable advices about my research and […]

  2. […] More information:Open Source research group at University of Erlangen-Nuremberghttps://dirkriehle.com/about/half-page-bio/ […]

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