Empirical Software Engineering Group (ESE)

Established: December 31, 2010

The Empirical Software Engineering working group empowers software development teams to make sound data-driven decisions by deploying novel analytic tools and methods based on ESE’s empirical research on products, process, people, and customers.

Our current interests are in the areas of:

  • Software Reliability: Predicting Failures/Failure-proneness, Test Prioritization, Failure Analysis.
  • Software Process: Organizational Impact on Quality, Agile Software Development, Global Software Development, Effort Estimation
  • Empirical Studies: Unit Testing, Inspections, Assertions, Test Driven Development
  • Games Research: Impact of Social Play, Retention of Players, Usage of Game Features

For an overview of our research activities, we recommend the showcase paper “Empirical Software Engineering at Microsoft Research“.




David Lo (2014)Miryung Kim (2011, 2014)Emerson Murphy-Hill (2012, 2013)Tim Menzies (2011, 2012)Abram Hindle (2011)Sung Kim (2010)Harald Gall (2008, 2009)Laurie Williams (2009)Andreas Zeller (2005, 2009)Victor R. Basili (2007)Neeraj Suri (2007)



Amiangshu Bosu (2014)

Joao Brunet Monteiro (2014)

Erik Harpstead (2014)

Ayushi Rastogi (2014)

Ted Smith (2014)

Oscar Edwin Alvarez Callau (2013)

Gifford Cheung (2013)

Thomas Debeauvais (2013)

Baishakhi Ray (2013)

Alberto Bacchelli (2012, 2013)

Kıvanç Muşlu (2011, 2013)

Jeff Huang (2012)

Ekrem Kocagüneli (2012)

Shaun Phillips (2012)

Juliana Saraiva (2012)

Alexander Tarvo (2012)

Sauvik Das (2011)

Ashish Gupta (2011)

Juan Francisco Rodríguez (2011)

Francisco Servant (2011)

Emad Shihab (2011)

Ray Buse (2010)

Ken Hullett (2010)

Mei Nagappan (2010)

Kalaikumaran Ramamurthy (2010)

Christian Bird (2008, 2009)

Philip Guo (2009)

Ayse Tosun (2009)

Andreas Johansson (2007)

Lucas Layman (2007)

Thomas Zimmermann (2006)







The Design of Bug Fixes
Emerson Murphy-Hill, Thomas Zimmermann, Christian Bird, Nachiappan Nagappan, Tom Zimmermann, Nachi Nagappan, in Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2013), IEEE, May 1, 2013, View abstract




Social Media for Software Engineering
Andrew Begel, Rob DeLine, Thomas Zimmermann, Tom Zimmermann, in Proceedings of the FSE/SDP Workshop on the Future of Software Engineering Research (FoSER), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., November 1, 2010, View abstract


Cross-project Defect Prediction
Thomas Zimmermann, Nachiappan Nagappan, Harald Gall, Emanuel Giger, Brendan Murphy, Tom Zimmermann, Nachi Nagappan, in Proceedings of the 7th joint meeting of the European Software Engineering Conference and the ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/ FSE), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., August 1, 2009, View abstract
Improving Bug Triage with Bug Tossing Graphs
Gaeul Jeong, Sunghun Kim, Thomas Zimmermann, Tom Zimmermann, in Proceedings of the 7th joint meeting of the European Software Engineering Conference and the ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/ FSE), Association for Computing Machinery, Inc., August 1, 2009, View abstract



Software Engineering Mix

Bellevue, WA, USA | July 2015

Software Engineering Mix provides a forum for our colleagues from academia to interact directly with Microsoft engineers. The program will feature talks from academics: highlights of published research that is highly relevant for Microsoft and blue sky talks summarizing emerging research areas. In addition, practitioners will give presentations about theoretical and pragmatic engineering challenges they face, perhaps soliciting help from academia. A coffee round table setting will be used to facilitate discussions. This session builds…

International Workshop on Defects in Large Software Systems (DEFECTS 2009)

Chicago, IL | July 2009

This page is for archival purposes. Some links might be broken. News Registration is open. Early registration ends on 2009-06-19. Register now! Program is online. (2009-06-05) Program 9:00-10:30   Keynote Bill Pugh. Defects that matter: Lessons from the Trenches "As part of the talk, I'll summarize the May 2009 FindBugs fixit in which 700 engineers at Google looked at 4,000 FindBugs warnings on Google's java codebase. 300 of the engineers supplied a total of more than 9,000 classifications…


Software Reliability

Established: February 7, 2012

This project investigates how factors such as complexity metrics, churn, organizational structure, dependencies, and social networks relate to software defects and failures. This information is used to build prediction models that can help to prioritize tests.

Software Process

Established: February 7, 2012

Our studies on software process include organizational impact on quality, agile software development, global software development, effort estimation, development branches, and build analysis.

Microsoft Research blog

Microsoft Research and the industrial research cycle

A personal view By Thomas Ball, Research Manager, Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group, Microsoft Research The industrial research cycle Here is what I have told new hires of Microsoft Research (MSR) since I became a manager some 14 years ago: MSR gives you the freedom to explore and expand the bounds of scientific knowledge, as in academia, but with the added challenge to align your scientific pursuits with company problems and to drive for…

January 2017

Microsoft Research Blog

Exploding Software-Engineering Myths

By Janie Chang, Writer, Microsoft Research At Microsoft Research, there are computer scientists and mathematicians who live in a world of theory and abstractions. Then there is Nachi Nagappan, who was on loan to the Windows development group for a year while building a triage system for software bugs. For Nagappan, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond with the Empirical Software Engineering Group (ESE), the ability to observe software-development processes firsthand is critical to…

October 2009

Microsoft Research Blog