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ICPC 2022
Mon 16 - Tue 17 May 2022
co-located with ICSE 2022

The comprehension of source code is a task inherent to many software development activities. Code change, code review and debugging are examples of these activities that depend heavily on developers’ understanding of the source code. This ability is threatened when developers’ cognitive load approaches the limits of their working memory, which in turn affects their understanding and makes them more prone to errors. Measures capturing humans’ behavior and changes in their physiological state have been proposed in a number of studies to investigate developers’ cognitive load. However, the majority of the existing approaches operate at a coarse-grained task level estimating the difficulty of the source code as a whole. Hence, they cannot be used to pinpoint the mentally demanding parts of it. We address this limitation in this paper through a non-intrusive approach based on eye-tracking. We collect users’ behavioral and physiological features while they are engaging with source code and train a set of machine learning models to estimate the mentally demanding parts of code. The evaluation of our models returns F1, recall, accuracy and precision scores up to 85.65%, 84.25%, 86.24% and 88.61%, respectively, when estimating the mental demanding fragments of code. Our approach enables a fine-grained analysis of cognitive load and allows identifying the parts challenging the comprehension of source code. Such an approach provides the means to test new hypotheses addressing the characteristics of specific parts within the source code and paves the road for novel techniques for code review and adaptive e-learning.

Mon 16 May

Displayed time zone: Eastern Time (US & Canada) change

02:00 - 02:40
Session 3: Complexity from a Cognitive PerspectiveResearch at ICPC room
Chair(s): Simone Scalabrino University of Molise
Estimating Developers' Cognitive Load at a Fine-grained Level Using Eye-tracking Measures
Amine Abbad-Andaloussi Institute of Computer Science, St Gallen University, Switzerland, Thierry Sorg Institute of Computer Science, St Gallen University, Switzerland, Barbara Weber St. Gallen University
Media Attached
So many brackets! An analysis of how SQL learners (mis)manage complexity during query formulation
Daphne Miedema Eindhoven University of Technology, George Fletcher Eindhoven University of Technology, Efthimia Aivaloglou University of Leiden
DOI Pre-print Media Attached
Anchoring Code Understandability Evaluations Through Task Descriptions
Marvin Wyrich University of Stuttgart, Lasse Merz University of Stuttgart, Daniel Graziotin University of Stuttgart
Pre-print Media Attached
The Effect of Information Content and Length on Name Recollection
Asaf Etgar Hebrew University, Ram Friedman Hebrew University, Shaked Haiman Hebrew University, Dana Perez Hebrew University, Dror Feitelson Hebrew University
Media Attached File Attached
Live Q&A
Q&A-Paper Session 3

Information for Participants