Code Readability and Human Studies
Abstract: Code readability is critical for code comprehension and thus cornerstones of modern software engineering like code review and software maintenance. In this keynote we focus on user studies to support code readability research. First, we present best practices and advice for conducting human studies. We will cover approaches for recruiting, compensation, crowdsourcing, quality control, and Ethics Board (IRB) considerations. We will also touch on aspects of experimental design, such as disentangling readability from complexity from end-to-end maintenance tasks. Second, we will present a summary of recent research using medical imaging, psychology and eye tracking to provide new lenses and insights into foundational notions of readability. What can brain scans and eye movements tell us about the difficulties of code readability or the ways in which reading code is different from reading prose?
Biography: Westley Weimer received a BA degree in computer science and mathematics from Cornell University and MS and PhD degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a full professor at the University of Michigan. His main research interests include static and dynamic analyses to improve software quality and fix defects, as well as medical imaging and human studies of programming.