ISR Distinguished Speaker

Margaret-Anne Storey

Professor of Computer Science
“Lies, Damned Lies and Software Analytics: Why Big Data Needs Thick Data”
Friday, April 8, 2016 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Faculty Host: 
Donald Bren Hall (building #314), room 6011

No cost to attend.


Click here for directions and parking information.


Software analytics and the use of computational methods on "big" data in software engineering is transforming the ways software is developed, used, improved and deployed. Software engineering researchers and practitioners are witnessing an increasing trend in the availability of diverse trace and operational data and the methods to analyze it. This information is being used to paint a picture of how software is engineered and suggest ways it may be improved. But we have to remember that software engineering is inherently a socio-technical endeavour, with complex practices, activities and cultural aspects that cannot be externalized or captured by tools alone---in fact, they may be perturbed when trace data is surfaced and analyzed in a transparent manner.

In this talk, I will ask:

  • Are researchers and practitioners adequately considering the unanticipated impacts that software analytics can have on software engineering processes and stakeholders?
  • Are there important questions that are not being asked because the answers do not lie in the data that are readily available?
  • Can we improve the application of software analytics using other methods that collect insights directly from participants in software engineering (e.g., through observations)?

I will explore these questions through specific examples. I hope to engage the audience in discussing how software analytics that depend on "big data" from tools, as well as methods that collect "thick" data from participants, can be mutually beneficial in improving software engineering research and practice.

About the Speaker: 

Dr. Margaret-Anne Storey is a professor of computer science at the University of Victoria, a Visiting Scientist at the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies in Toronto, and a Canada Research Chair in Software and Knowledge Visualization. She is a principal investigator for the National Center for Biomedical Ontology in the United States and one of the principal investigators for CSER (Centre for Software Engineering Research) in Canada. Her research goal is to understand how technology can help people explore, understand and share complex information and knowledge. She evaluates and applies techniques from knowledge engineering, social software and visual interface design to applications such as collaborative software development, program comprehension, biomedical ontology development, and learning in Web-based environments. 

Some of her recent projects include investigating the role of social media in collaborative software engineering, improving information visualization techniques and developing social software to facilitate the next version of the International Classification of Diseases with the World Health Organization.


The slides for this talk are available at: