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Interdisciplinary Studies of Open Source Software (OSS) Projects

Google Tech TalksFebruary, 25 2008ABSTRACTWe all love to hate large software systems. They are hard to build, hard to evolve, and don't work very well. Why is this? A lot of reasons,some social, some technical, and some socio-technical. We believe that OSSprovides an excellent source of data to test hypotheses about the factorsthat affect important phenomena/outcomes in software projects. Our groupat UC Davis, comprising bio-informaticians, organizational behaviourists, physicists, and software engineers, is using a range of different approachesto the analyze the veritable torrents of data pouring out of open source projectsto understand how things work in OSS, and what tools and techniques canhelp. One important issue is IMMIGRATION: how do new peoplejoin projects, and how can we help the difficult intellectual and socialchallenges they face. We present two results:1.a) Can we build "recommender" tools that help programmers dealwith "information overload" by helping them focus their attention? 1.b) Such tools have always been evaluated with user studies. Canwe do something more quantitative? 2) What are the factors influencing immigration of new developers in Open source projects? Joint work with: V. Filkov, A. Swaminathan, G. Hsu, and students C. Bird, Z. Saul, and A. GourleyWe gratefully acknowledge support from NSF (Science of Design andHuman and Social Dynamics Programs), the IBM Faculty Fellowship Program, and the GrammaTech and SciTools corporations.Speaker: Prem DevanbuPrem Devanbu is Professor of Computer Science at UC Davis, he joined UC Davis after almost 20 years in Industry, including 17 yearsat AT Bell Labs and its various offshoots. He received hisundergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering (Medium Current)from IIT Chennai, India, and his M.S., and Ph.D from Rutgers Universityin Piscataway, NJ.
Length: 53:05


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