ICPC 2018
Sun 27 - Mon 28 May 2018 Gothenburg, Sweden
co-located with * ICSE 2018 *
Mon 28 May 2018 16:37 - 16:54 at J1 room - Readibility, Features and APIs Chair(s): Yoshiki Higo

It has been well documented that a large portion of the cost of any software lies in the time spent by developers in understanding a program’s source code before any changes can be undertaken. One of the main contributors to software comprehension, by subsequent developers or by the authors themselves, has to do with the quality of the lexicon, (i.e., the identifiers and comments) that is used by developers to embed domain concepts and to communicate with their teammates. In fact, previous research shows that there is a positive correlation between the quality of identifiers and the quality of a software project. Results suggest that poor quality lexicon impairs program comprehension and consequently increases the effort that developers must spend to maintain the software. However, we do not yet know or have any empirical evidence, of the relationship between the quality of the lexicon and the cognitive load that developers experience when trying to understand a piece of software. Given the associated costs, there is a critical need to empirically characterize the impact of the quality of the lexicon on developers’ ability to comprehend a program.

In this study, we explore the effect of poor source code lexicon and readability on developers’ cognitive load as measured by a cutting-edge and minimally invasive functional brain imaging technique called functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). Additionally, while developers perform software comprehension tasks, we map cognitive load data to source code identifiers using an eye tracking device. Our results show that the presence of linguistic antipatterns in source code significantly increases the developers’ cognitive load.

Mon 28 May
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16:00 - 17:30: Technical Research - Readibility, Features and APIs at J1 room
Chair(s): Yoshiki HigoOsaka University
icpc-2018-Technical-Research16:00 - 16:17
Rodrigo SantosIPT-SP, Marco GerosaNorthern Arizona University
icpc-2018-Technical-Research16:17 - 16:27
Giovanni GranoUniversity of Zurich, Simone ScalabrinoUniversity of Molise, Harald GallUniversity of Zurich, Rocco OlivetoUniversity of Molise
icpc-2018-Technical-Research16:27 - 16:37
Zoltan PorkolabEotvos Lorond University, Dániel KruppEricsson Ltd, Tibor BrunnerEricsson Hungary, Marton CsordasEricsson Hungary
Link to publication DOI Pre-print
icpc-2018-Technical-Research16:37 - 16:54
Sarah FakhouryWashington State University, Yuzhan MaWashington State University Pullman, Venera ArnaoudovaWashington State University Pullman, Olusola AdesopeWashington State University
DOI Pre-print
icpc-2018-Technical-Research16:54 - 17:11
Ran MoDrexel University, Yuanfang Cai Drexel University, Rick KazmanUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Qiong FengDrexel University
icpc-2018-Technical-Research17:11 - 17:21
Industry talk
Gregory S. DeLozier, Michael DeckerBowling Green State University, Christian NewmanRochester Institute of Technology, Jonathan MaleticKent State University