Research Paper: From Developer Networks to Verified Communities: A Fine-Grained Approach

Abstract: Effective software engineering demands a coordinated effort. Unfortunately, a comprehensive view on developer coordination is rarely available to support software-engineering decisions, despite the significant implications on software quality, software architecture, and developer productivity. We present a fine-grained, verifiable, and fully automated approach to capture a view on developer coordination, based on commit information and source-code structure, mined from version-control systems. We apply methodology from network analysis and machine learning to identify developer communities automatically. Compared to previous work, our approach is fine-grained, and identifies statistically significant communities using order-statistics and a community-verification technique based on graph conductance. To demonstrate the scalability and generality of our approach, we analyze ten open-source projects with complex and active histories, written in various programming languages. By surveying 53 open-source developers from the ten projects, we validate the authenticity of inferred community structure with respect to reality. Our results indicate that developers of open-source projects form statistically significant community structures and this particular view on collaboration largely coincides with developers’ perceptions of real-world collaboration.

Keywords: Open source, social network analysis, developer networks, developer communities, respository mining, conductance

Reference: Mitchell Joblin, Wolfgang Mauerer, Sven Apel, Janet Siegmund, Dirk Riehle. “From Developer Networks to Verified Communities: A Fine-Grained Approach.” In Proceedings of the 37th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2015). IEEE Press, to appear.

The paper is available as a PDF file.

Research Paper: How Developers Acquire FLOSS Skills

Abstract: With the increasing prominence of open collaboration as found in free/libre/open source software projects and other joint production communities, potential participants need to acquire skills. How these skills are learned has received little research attention. This article presents a large-scale survey (5,309 valid responses) in which users and developers of the beta release of a popular file download application were asked which learning styles were used to acquire technical and social skills. We find that the extent to which a person acquired the relevant skills through informal methods tends to be higher for free/libre/open source code contributors, while being a professional software developer does not have this effect. Additionally, younger participants proved more likely to make use of formal methods of learning. These insights will help individuals, commercial companies, educational institutions, governments and open collaborative projects decide how they promote learning.

Keywords: Competencies, informal learning, non-formal learning, open source, skills, software developer

Reference: Ann Barcomb, Michael Grottke, Jan-Philipp Stauffert, Dirk Riehle, Sabrina Jahn. “How Developers Acquire FLOSS Skills.” In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS 2015). Springer Verlag, to appear.

The paper is available as a PDF file.

Research Paper: Improving Traceability of Requirements through Qualitative Data Analysis

Abstract: Traceability is an important quality aspect in modern software development. It facilitates the documentation of decisions and helps identifying conflicts regarding the conformity of one artifact to another. We propose a new approach to requirements engineering that utilizes qualitative research methods, which have been well established in the domain of social science. Our approach integrates traceability between the original documentation and the requirements specification and the domain model and glossary and supports adaptability to change.

Keywords: Requirements analysis, requirements traceability, qualitative data analysis

Reference: Andreas Kaufmann, Dirk Riehle. “Improving Traceability of Requirements through Qualitative Data Analysis.” In Proceedings of the 2015 Software Engineering Konferenz (SE 2015). Springer Verlag, to appear.

The paper is available as a PDF file.

Zur Bedeutung des Titels “Honorarprofessor/in”

Die FAU vergibt den Titel “Honorarprofessor/in” an ausgewählte Individuen, welche über einen längeren Zeitraum (mind. vier Jahre) regelmäßig zwei SWS pro Jahr oder mehr Lehre erbracht haben und sich auch darüber hinaus als Freund und Unterstützer der FAU erwiesen haben. Grundlage der Titelvergabe ist das Bayrische Hochschulgesetz sowie verschiedene in der Praxis etablierte Praktiken und auch etwaige Prüfungsordnungen. Es gilt, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Informatik:

  • Der Titel wird ausschließlich auf Basis von Lehrleistung aufrecht erhalten. Forschungsleistungen schaden nicht, helfen aber auch nicht.
  • Der Titel verfällt, wenn die Lehrleistung von mind. zwei SWS pro Jahr nicht aufrecht erhalten wird; Lehrveranstaltungen ohne Studierende zählen nicht.
  • Honorarprofessorinn/en erhalten Zugang zu allen für die Lehre notwendigen Systemen; neben der Mindestlehre entstehen keine weiteren Verpflichtungen.
  • Honorarprofessorinn/en sind für ihre Lehre eigenverantwortlich; es entstehen keine Ansprüche an das Department Informatik, die Lehre zu unterstützen.
  • Der Titel wird direkt an eine natürliche Person vergeben. Von einer Verquickung der Privatperson mit dem Arbeitgeber wird dringend abgeraten.

Das Department Informatik und die Professur für Open-Source-Software ist stolz darauf, dass mehrere ausgewählte Persönlichkeiten aus der Wirtschaft unsere Lehre an der FAU unterstützen!

Final Thesis: A Quality Metric of QDA-Derived Theories Using Object-Oriented Modeling

Abstract: Qualitative data analysis is widely accepted as valid approach for inductively developing theories. The in-depth analysis of individual experience often results in novel findings, potentially explaining less common phenomena. However, to achieve valuable results, the discovery must be compliant to various implications and prescribed processes. Grounded theory is a qualitative methodology constituted by very specific procedures, which in turn are supposed to foster scientific rigor. However, there is no definite framework or evaluation strategy, defining which criteria constitute good theory. By building upon principles of qualitative analysis and object-oriented programming, this research suggest an approach to quality assessment for emergent theories. Results demonstrate that a semi-formal memo annotation enables evaluation of code-systems, while providing traceability and follow-up data processing.

Keywords: QDA, qualitative data analysis, quality metrics

PDFs: Master Thesis, Work Description

Reference: Eugen Ananin. A Quality Metric of QDA-Derived Theories Using Object-Oriented Modeling. Master Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2015.

Final Thesis: A Storage Solution for the WOM

Abstract: Most wikis store their pages (articles) as text blobs in an SQL database. A formal parser for MediaWiki’s markup format which drives Wikipedia and many other wiki instances has been developed by the SWEBLE project. This parser produces a structured document as Wiki Object Model (WOM) which unlocks the information stored in each article and enables refactoring and other technologies to the wiki world. These technologies require a storage solution for fast document access and preferably low memory usage. The goal of this thesis is to investigate available storage options for XML documents and implement an interface which supports quick, arbitrary searches over all articles and provides methods for refractoring the WOM documents.

Keywords: Wikitext, Swebe, WOM

PDFs: Bachelor Thesis, Work Description

Reference: Thomas Land. A Storage Solution for the WOM. Bachelor Thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2015.

Jobs für Studierende neben dem Informatikstudium

Uns erreichen häufig Anfragen zu Studierendenjobs in der Wirtschaft. Wir vermitteln diese gern. Um den Prozess für uns zu vereinfachen, bitten wir Sie (Studierende) um zwei Informationen: (a) zu welchem Unternehmen Sie wollen und (b) einen Lebenslauf, den wir weiterreichen können. Eine Liste unserer Industriepartner finden Sie auf unserem Blog. Wenn dort ein Unternehmen nicht vermerkt ist, heisst es nicht, dass wir nicht in Kontakt sind—es heisst lediglich, dass die Liste ggf. aktualisiert werden sollte. Weiterhin hoffen wir, dass Sie auch unsere Forschungsgruppe in Betracht ziehen: Wir sind immer auf der Suche nach guten studentischen Softwareentwicklern mit Interesse an Forschung und Wissenschaft. Wenn Sie beide Information beisammen haben, schicken Sie bitte eine Email an Fariba Bensing, mit cc: an Prof. Riehle.

“The Next MacGyver” to be female? #NextMacGyver

This is not necessarily within our usual sphere of influence, but then we do have students leaving the country and migrating to the United States. Thus you might want to know about this fun call for participation in a crowdsourced project: The Next MacGyver. Specifically, the project is calling on engineers to contribute to a TV show script in which the main hero will indeed be a heroine, a female engineer, for a new show like the original MacGyver. This is part of the U.S. government’s effort to bolster female participation in engineering degree programs.

BayFOR and FAU Support for Malaysia Collaboration

Our research group is involved with several Asian universities (mostly in Hong Kong and Malaysia). We are glad to report to have received additional funding from BayFOR and FAU of about EUR 10.000 to continue our engagement with Malaysian universities. We intend to use the funds to drive forward our joing work on a large public grant proposal. These are exclusively (but generous) travel and accommodation funds, both for our Malaysian partners and ourselves.