NICTA is a Federal, State Government and university project with a lot of money (in Australian terms) for research, education and commercialization. NICTA is based at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney, the site of the historic Eveleigh Railway Workshops. In the past I have written how this is the ideal environment for promoting Australian technology.
It is the 150'th anniversary of railways in NSW this is where many of the locomotives where made. I walked into the ATP past a Crane Tank Locomotive through the foundry, which is now a working museum used for metal sculpture. Further on were IT exhibits and events, where I bumped into the local member of parliament, Kristina Keneally."Empirical Software Engineering" seems a tautology, but a quick search of CiteSeer shows the sort of thing Steven and his colleagues do. They are working out how to build IT systems which will be useful to business.
The ATP is on the edge of the gentrification of inner Sydney, with old warehouses being turned into apartments and cafes. The NICTA people confirmed the Creative Class theory that "build a cafe and the technologists will arrive", by taking me to lunch at Cafe Sopra located above the Fratelli Fresh.