Software Analytics

Established: May 15, 2009

A huge wealth of various data exists in software lifecycle, including source code, feature specifications, bug reports, test cases, execution traces/logs, and real-world user feedback, etc. Data plays an essential role in modern software development, because hidden in the data is information about the quality of software and services as well as the dynamics of software development. With various analytical and computing technologies, such as pattern recognition, machine learning, data mining, information visualization and large-scale data computing & processing, software analytics is to enable software practitioners to perform effective and efficient data exploration and analysis in order to obtain insightful and actionable information for data-driven tasks in engineering software and services.

The mission of the Software Analytics Group at MSR Asia is to advance the state of the art in the software analytics area; and utilize our technologies to help improve the quality of software and services as well as the development productivity for both Microsoft and software industry.

Software Systems

Depending on scale and complexity, the spectrum of software systems can span from operating systems for devices to large networked systems that consist of thousands of servers. System quality such as reliability, performance and security, is the key to success of modern software systems. As the system scale and complexity greatly increase, larger amount of data, e.g., run-time traces and logs, is generated; and data has become a critical media to monitor, analyze, understand and improve system quality.

Our group has on-going efforts in this challenging yet promising area. For example, we are mining huge operating system traces to help domain experts quickly identify performance issues. We are researching analysis techniques and developing easy-to-use tools to assist performance diagnosis for large scale networked systems.

Software Users 

Users are (almost) always right because ultimately they pay for the software and services in various ways. Therefore, it is important to continuously create the best user experience. Usage data collected from the real world reveals how users interact with software and services. The data is incredibly valuable for software practitioners to better understand their customers and gain insights on how to improve user experience accordingly.

Our group works on various usage data exploration and analysis projects. The goal is to provide advanced techniques to enable the acquisition of actionable information and driving informed decision for creating the best user experience.

Development Process

Software development has evolved from its traditional form to exhibit different characteristics. The process is more agile and engineers are more collaborative. Analytics on software development data provides a powerful mechanism that we can leverage in order to achieve higher development productivity.

Our group is looking into interesting topics using the data-driven approach such as “how to find bad smells in source code”, “how to support efficient code review and test selection”, and “how to measure and predict the health of development process”.

Selected Talks and Presentations

Dongmei Zhang, Software Analytics in Practice – Approaches and Experiences, Keynote at the 11th International Conference on Predictive Models and Data Analytics in Software Engineering (PROMISE 2015), Beijing, China, October 21, 2015.

Dongmei Zhang and Tao Xie, Software Analytics – Achievements and Challenges, Tutorial at the 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE 2014), Hong Kong, China, November 2014.

Dongmei Zhang, Software Analytics in Practice – Approaches and Experiences, Keynote at the 12th National Software Application Conference (NASAC 2013), Tianjin, China, November 9, 2013.

Dongmei Zhang and Tao Xie, Pathways to Technology Transfer and Adoption: Achievements and Challenges, mini-tutorial at the 35th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2013), Software Engineering in Practice (SEIP), San Francisco, USA, May 23, 2013.

Dongmei Zhang, Data-Driven Performance Management in Practice for Online Services, invited talk at the second International Symposium on High Confidence Software (ISHCS 2012), Qingdao, Shandong, China, October 29, 2012.

Dongmei Zhang, Software Analytics in Practice – Approaches and Experiences, Keynote at the 9th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR2012), Zurich, Switzerland, June 2, 2012.

Dongmei Zhang and Tao Xie, Software Analytics in Practice, mini-tutorial at the 34th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2012), Zurich, Switzerland, June 6, 2012.

Hiring

Here at Microsoft, there are rich data and real problems providing us great opportunities to do excellent research in software analytics. We welcome new members to our group as well as collaborators from both internally and externally. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Dongmei Zhang at dongmeiz@microsoft.com.

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