Understanding Understanding Source Code with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Room: GDC 5.516
Contact Name: 
don batory
Mar 20, 2014 1:30am - 2:30pm

"Understanding Understanding Source Code with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging"

Janet Siegmund
University of Passau, Germany 

Program comprehension is an important cognitive process that inherently eludes direct measurement. Thus, researchers are struggling with providing suitable programming languages, tools, or coding conventions to support developers in their everyday work. In this presentation, we describe a study in which we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure program comprehension. We discuss the requirements for fMRI studies and for program-comprehension measurement. We show that program comprehension is closely related to language comprehension and that fMRI studies to measure program comprehension have great potential to revolutionize program-comprehension research, programming-language and tool design, as well as education of beginning programmers.