Interactive Exploration of Developer Interaction Traces using a Hidden Markov Model

Author : Damevski, Kostadin; Chen, Hu; Shepherd, David; Pollock, Lori
Booktitle : International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR)
Date : May 2016
Publisher : ACM
Project : Uncategorized
Keywords: field studies, IDE usage data, hidden-markov model

Abstract :

Using IDE usage data to analyze the behavior of software developers in the field, during the course of their daily work, can lend support to (or dispute) laboratory studies of developers. This paper describes a technique that leverages Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) as a means of mining high-level developer behavior from low-level IDE interaction traces of many developers in the field. HMMs use dual stochastic processes to model higher-level hidden behavior using observable input sequences of events. We propose an interactive approach of mining interpretable HMMs, based on guiding a human expert in building a high quality HMM in an iterative, one state at a time, manner. The final result is a model that is both representative of the field data and captures the field phenomena of interest. We apply our HMM construction approach to study debugging behavior, using a large IDE interaction dataset collected from nearly 200 developers at ABB, Inc. Our results highlight the different modes and constituent actions in debugging, exhibited by the developers in our dataset.

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