Developing Natural Language-based Software Analyses & Tools to Expedite Software Maintenance

Today’s software is large and complex, with systems consisting of millions of lines of code. New developers to a software project face significant challenges in locating code related to their maintenance tasks of fixing bugs or adding new features. Developers can simply be handed a bug and told to fix it–even when they have no idea where to begin.

We can significantly reduce the cost of software maintenance by reducing the time and effort to find and understand code. In this talk, I will outline the challenges in finding and understanding code in a large software project as well as present some software engineering tools that can help. Specifically, I will present techniques that leverage the textual information from comments and identifiers as well as program structure to create intuitive software engineering and program comprehension tools.

Speaker Details

Emily Hill is an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey. In 2010, she earned her PhD from the University of Delaware in Computer and Information Sciences. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on developing natural language processing and information retrieval techniques to improve software engineering tools and reduce software maintenance costs. At Montclair, she actively recruits talented undergraduate and graduate students to help her analyze the natural language clues developers leave behind in identifiers and comments in software.

Emily Hill
Montclair State University

Series: Microsoft Research Talks