Seminar Talk 2014-04-18

“Software Analytics for Digital Games”

Tom Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Microsoft Research

Friday, April 18, 2014 – 3:00pm
Donald Bren Hall, Room 6011 (Bldg. 314)

Software and its development generates an inordinate amount of data. Development activities such as check-ins, work items, bug reports, code reviews, and test executions are recorded in software repositories. User interactions that reflect how customers experience software are recorded in telemetry data, run-time traces, and log files and helps to track application and feature usage and expose performance and reliability. Software analytics takes this data and turns it into actionable insight to better inform decisions related to software.

In this talk, I will summarize our efforts in the area of software analytics with a special focus on digital games. I will first introduce software analytics and show important information needs for data scientists working on software data. Next I will present several examples of how analytics can be used on digital games such as how players are engaged in Project Gotham Racing and how skill develops over time in Halo Reach. I will also point out important differences between games development and traditional software development. The work presented in this talk has been done by Nachi Nagappan, myself, and many others who have visited our group over the past years.

About the Speaker:
Thomas Zimmermann received his PhD degree from Saarland University, Germany. He is a researcher in the Research in Software Engineering Group at Microsoft Research, adjunct assistant professor at the University of Calgary, and affiliate faculty at University of Washington. His research interests include software analytics, empirical software engineering, mining software repositories, development tools, social networking, and games research. He is best known for his research on systematic mining of version archives and bug databases to conduct empirical studies and to build tools to support developers and managers. He received three ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards for his work published at the ICSE ’07, FSE ’08, and FSE ‘12 conferences. He has served on a variety of program committees, including ICSE, ECOOP, OOPSLA, ISSTA, MSR, and ICSM. He was co-chair of the program committee for the MSR ’10 and ’11 conferences. For more information visit