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Exploring theory of cognition for general theory of software engineering: Predicting the effort of programming language comprehension
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Electric power and energy systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3293-1681
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Electric power and energy systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3922-9606
2015 (English)In: Proceedings - 4th SEMAT Workshop on General Theory of Software Engineering, GTSE 2015, IEEE , 2015, 15-24 p.Conference paper (Refereed)Text
Abstract [en]

In recent years, there has been significant interest in general theories of software engineering. In this article, we explore the utility of a theory of cognition, ACT-R, as a component of such a general theory. The ACT-R theory was instantiated to predict the effort of programming language comprehension for two cases: (i) a C program, and (ii) the corresponding Assembly program. An experiment was then conducted to generate empirical data on the two comprehension tasks. The theoretical predictions were compared to the empirical results. The theoretical model predicted that the effort of understanding the considered program in C is 37% of the effort of understanding a comparable program written in Assembly. The experiment generated 33% as the corresponding percentage number. The concordance between theoretical model and experimental data was surprisingly high, encouraging further investigations into the utility of cognitive theories in software engineering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE , 2015. 15-24 p.
Keyword [en]
Ada (programming language), C (programming language), Computational linguistics, Computer programming languages, Software engineering, ACT-R, Cognitive theory, Comprehension tasks, General theory, Language comprehensions, Program comprehension, Theoretical modeling, Theory of cognitions, Programming theory
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-187143DOI: 10.1109/GTSE.2015.9ISI: 000380612700003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84954242444OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-187143DiVA: diva2:929036
Conference
4th SEMAT Workshop on General Theory of Software Engineering, GTSE 2015; Florence; Italy
Note

QC 20160517

Available from: 2016-05-17 Created: 2016-05-17 Last updated: 2016-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Johnson, PontusEkstedt, Mathias
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