PhD Seminar Course on

Challenges in Empirical Studies of Code

Cagliari, 6, 10, 13, 17 May, 2011

Instructor: Ewan Tempero, PhD
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Program Visiting Professor 2010, funded by Regione Autonoma della Sardegna
Duration: 20 h
Schedule: 6, 10, 13, 17 May, 2011 -- from 14:00 to 19:00
Venue: Sala riunioni, 2 piano Edificio B
Topics: Many theories have been proposed and much advice is given on how to best structure code, but our understanding of what really works is poor. Perhaps the best way to improve our understanding is to examine the code artifacts that have been produced. However there are many challenges that face us in doing such studies. This seminar series looks at what these challenges are, and examines how well they are addressed in the existing research literature.
The seminar sessions will be the following:
Friday 6 May: Theoretical challenges
In order to properly carry out any empirical study, we need to understand the theoretical foundations of such studies. This lecture focuses on two specific areas: threats to validity and measurement.
Tuesday 10 May: Defining good software metrics
Defining a good metric is difficult, and doing so when what we want to measure is not physical, such is software even more so. This lecture samples and critiques some of the efforts in this regard from the research literature.
Friday 13 May: Measuring code
To get measurements of code, code must be found and tools must be developed. This lecture samples the history of measurements of code.
Tuesday 17 May: Measuring quality attributes
Data we collect from code by itself is of limited value in an engineering context. Engineers use measurements to guide their decisions and so need to understand how the measurements related to the quality attributes of interest. This lecture critiques some studies from the research literature that seeks to discover possible relationships.
Assessment: A report applying the principles from the Course.
Organizer: Michele Marchesi
Dep. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
University of Cagliari, Italy