I'm a fifth-year Computer Science PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), working with Danny Dig. I received my MSc in Computer Science at the UIUC in 2014.

I am the first-author of 3 top-tier conference papers. I am also the main author of the paper that received the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at the 36th ICSE conference in 2014. I was honored to have received the 2015 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for my community work in .NET.

As an industry experience, I implemented "nameof" language feature in the C# compiler and shipped it with Visual Studio 14 CTP3 while working at Microsoft as an intern. I completed a prototype implementation of a breakthrough C# feature: pattern matching.

I received my BS in Computer Engineering at Koc University in 2011. In my last 2 years of college, I was advised by Serdar Tasiran. I was also honored as the first rank among the CE students.

I am a web entrepreneur, professional skier, and freelance photographer. On May 2011, I co-founded a website called yapanzi.com, which is a micro-payment social marketplace for services.

I'm married to Dr. Hatice S Kaya-Okur, who is a postdoctoral research associate in Molecular & Cellular Biology at the UIUC.


Jul 18ASE'15 paper got accepted. Congrats to the first-author, Yu Lin!
May 26Will be working in the TSE team at Microsoft for the summer
Apr 27Honored to receive the Feng Chen Memorial Award.
Jan 1Happy to receive the 2015 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award.
Oct 20Worked for a week as a consultant at a health care company in Portland.
Jul 31Attended ECOOP'14 conference at Uppsala, Sweden! First time to be in Sweden.
Jun 7Received ACM Distinguished Paper Award at ICSE 2014.
Jun 1Attended ICSE'14 conference at Hyderabad, India! First time to be in India.
May 27Started to work in the C# compiler team at Microsoft @Redmond for the summer.
Apr 4Selected as a ACM CAPS award recipient for ICSE 2014.
Mar 4ECOOP'14 paper got accepted. Will be at Sweden in July 28! This is my second first-author paper in a year.
Jan 15ICSE'14 paper got accepted. It is my first ICSE paper. Will be at India in June!
Oct 15Attended OOPSLA'13 conference at Indianapolis.
Oct 15Attended ESEM'13 conference at Baltimore.
Sep 15Submitted a paper to ICSE'13, collaboration with Delft University.
Sep 15Received merit-based NSF Travel Grant to attend ESEM'13.
Sep 10Presented "How do Developers Use Parallel Libraries?" at 2013 Illinois Symposium on Parallelism: Current State of the Field and the Future.
AprDanny received Microsoft SEIF Award! I was the writer of the grant.
NovAttended FSE'12 in Cary, NC and made my first talk, "How do Developers Use Parallel Libraries?".
SepReceived Graduate College Conference Travel Grant!.
JunFSE'12 paper got accepted. It is my first first-author paper!

Research Interests

I enjoy doing research in Software Engineering and Parallel Programming. I am specifically interested in interactive program transformation, automated refactoring tools, compilers, parallel libraries, and parallel programmer productivity.

A common thread in my research is understanding how programmers use parallelism in their code. Based on this understanding, my goal is to develop refactorings, bug-fixing, and profiler tools that (i) improve performance and responsiveness of general- purpose applications, (ii) increase programmer productivity, and (iii) make parallel programming accessible to all programmers.

My research projects have been funded by two Microsoft Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF'11, SEIF'13) awards.

For more details, please see my Curriculum Vitae!

Selected Publications

A Study and Toolkit for Asynchronous Programming in C# (ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award)
Semih Okur, David L. Hartveld, Danny Dig, Arie van Deursen
36th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2014-Research Track)
Converting Parallel Code from Low-Level Abstractions to Higher-Level Abstractions
Semih Okur, Cansu Erdogan, Danny Dig
28th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2014-Research Track)
How do Developers Use Parallel Libraries?
Semih Okur, Danny Dig
20th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2012-Research Track)

See my Google Scholar profile!

Research Impact

  • I maintain a website, LearnAsync.NET where developers can find hundreds of real-world examples of all asynchronous idioms and inspect real-world misuse examples of async/await keywords.
  • I maintain a website, LearnParallelism.NET as an tremendous education resource for C# programmers. It shows all usage examples of each parallel construct as real code snippets and allow the visitors to browse these code snippets in the corresponding source file through Github. The visitors examine the usage of parallel constructs in real code rather than in tutorials and toy applications. It has received more than 100k visitors.