Research

My STRUDEL students and I are engaged in mixed-methods interdisciplinary empirical research at the intersection of software engineering, social computing, and computer-supported cooperative work.

Recently, much of our work has focused on improving the sustainability of open-source software. Open source plays critical roles in our software infrastructure, and by extension in economic growth and almost every facet of modern life, far beyond only technical software projects: it is used in almost every product or in the process of creating products by companies big and small, often in ways invisible to open-source maintainers or without ever contributing back. Some argue that open source provides just as important infrastructure as roads and bridges do for the economy. However, despite its ubiquitousness, the importance of open-source software, and our dependence on it, are often not recognized. Sustaining open source remains a significant challenge.

Our research takes a broad view of software development as an inextricable socio-technical activity, which leads to a multi-dimensional approach to our work: contributing to understanding and improving the organization, functioning, and overall health of open-source communities, on the more social side, but also to understanding and developing tooling to help software developers overcome specific technical challenges, on the more technical side.

For more details about specific research projects, check out the STRUDEL page and list of publications.

Highlights

  • This 3-minute video overview of our data-driven approach to studying open-source teams.
  • This infographic summarizing a recent research project on the use of repository badges within the npm ecosystem.
  • This keynote talk I gave at the 2019 Scala Days about sustaining open source digital infrastructure.

Funding

I am extremely grateful for research funding I have received over the years from the National Science Foundation (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), the Sloan & Ford Foundations (2018), Google Faculty Research Awards (2018, 2019), and the Software Engineering Institute (ongoing).