Sharif, Peterson earn ICSME 2020 Distinguished Paper Award

Nov 03, 2020      By Victoria Grdina

Bonita Sharif
Bonita Sharif

Dr. Bonita Sharif, her Ph.D. student Cole Peterson, and her collaborators at Kent State University were honored with the 2020 Distinguished Paper Award for their work on supporting high speed trackers for software development tasks at the 36th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), held virtually this year.

The paper titled "Automated Recording and Semantics-Aware Replaying of High-Speed Eye Tracking and Interaction Data to Support Cognitive Studies of Software Engineering Tasks" was co-authored by Vlas Zyrianov, Drew Guarnera, Cole Peterson, Bonita Sharif, and Jonathan Maletic. The paper was presented by Vlas Zyrianov, now a Ph.D. student at University of The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The paper also received the artifact badge of being available, which means that the tool is functional + placed on a publicly accessible archival repository. 

The paper introduces a fundamental technological problem with collecting high-speed eye tracking data while studying software engineering tasks in an integrated development environment.  The use of eye trackers is quickly becoming an important means to study software developers and how they comprehend source code and locate bugs. High-quality eye trackers can record upwards of 120 to 300 gaze points per second.  However, it is not possible to map each of these points to a line and column position in a source code file (in the presence of scrolling and file switching) in real time at data rates over 60 gaze points per second without data loss.  Unfortunately, higher data rates are more desirable as they allow for finer granularity and more accurate study analyses. To alleviate this technological problem, a novel method for eye tracking data collection is presented. Instead of performing gaze analysis in real time, all telemetry (keystrokes, mouse movements, and eye tracker output) data during a study is recorded as it happens. Sessions are then replayed at a much slower speed allowing for ample time to map gaze point positions to the appropriate file, line, and column to perform additional analysis. A description of the method and corresponding tool, Déjà Vu, is presented. An evaluation of the method and tool is conducted using three different eye trackers running at four different speeds (60Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz, and 300 Hz). This timing evaluation is performed in Visual Studio and Eclipse IDEs. Results show that Déjà Vu can playback 100% of the data recordings, correctly mapping the gaze to corresponding elements, making it a well-founded and suitable post processing step for future eye tracking studies in software engineering.

In addition, Dr. Sharif along with her co-chair Dr. Marco Gerosa was awarded the distinguished service award for service as doctoral symposium co-chair at ICSME. Dr. Sharif also chaired the Methods and Environments – II session at the conference. 

Dr. Sharif is an Associate Professor at CSE and directs the Software Engineering Research and Empirical Studies (SERES) Lab located at 202 Schorr Center. Cole Peterson, a co-author of the paper, is a first year UNL CSE Ph.D. student working in the field of empirical software engineering and program comprehension.

This work is supported in part by the United States National Science Foundation under grant numbers CCF 18-55756/55753, CCF 15-53573, and CNS 17-30307/30181.

View the full presentationconference scheduleawards list, and tool and usage documentation.

The International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME) is the premier international forum for researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, and government to present, discuss, and debate the most recent ideas, experiences, and challenges in software maintenance and evolution.