COMP 5900: Mining Software Repositories

Software development projects generate impressive amounts of data. Mining software repositories research aims to extract information from the various artifacts produced during the evolution of a software system and inferring the relationships between them. This course will introduce the methods and tools of mining software repositories and artifacts used by software developers and researchers. The course will be seminar-based and will involve weekly reading and discussion. The project component will be flexible but will likely involve some programming. For further details on the course content, please refer to its outline (pdf). This course is offered by the School of Computer Science at the Carleton University.

Seminars are held every Monday from 8:35 AM to 11:25 AM in CO 214.


  • Please send me your paper selection list (minimum 3 papers) by Sunday September 16, 2018.
  • We will be using Slack for course communication, news and reminders. Please join COMP59000 channel.
  • Submit your paper review (due 11:59 PM every Sunday)

Content Overviewtop

The course will be adjusted according to students’ interests and experience. This is an overview of the kinds of topics the course could cover:

  • Mining software repositories (data extraction and analysis)
  • Development team processes
  • Software development tools and environments
  • Software analytics
  • Software visualization
  • Mining social data
  • Software evolution
  • Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of software engineering research

Tentative Scheduletop

It is important to note that this schedule is evolving and will change based on your interests and how the class is progressing.

Monday September 10 - Introduction

  1. Introduction.
  2. Introduction to Mining Software Repositories/Software Analytics.
    Presented by Olga Baysal

Monday September 17 - Software Engineering Research Methods

  1. Fredrick P. Brooks. No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering. 1987.
    Presented by Jingyi (Jenie) Shen.
  2. Steve Easterbrook, Janice Singer, Margaret-anne Storey, Daniela Damian. Selecting Empirical Methods for Software Engineering Research. 2008.
    Presented by Maryam Fekri.

Monday September 24 - Development Teams

  1. Kivanc Muslu, Christian Bird, Nachiappan Nagappan, and Jacek Czerwonka. Transition from Centralized to Decentralized Version Control Systems: A Case Study on Reasons, Barriers, and Outcomes. 2014.
    Presented by Yibing Yang.
  2. Teasley, S. D., Covi, L. A., Krishnan, M. S. and Olson, J. S. Rapid Software Development through Team Collocation. 2002.
    Presented by Raisul Rashu.

Monday October 01 - Program Comprehension and Data Science

  1. Margaret-Anne Storey. Theories, Methods, and Tools in Program Comprehension: Past, Present, and Future. ICPC 2005.
    Presented by Boneetha.
  2. Jordan Ott, Abigail Atchison, Paul Harnack, Adrienne Bergh, and Erik Linstead. A Deep Learning Approach to Identifying Source Code in Images and Video
    Presented by Ankith.
  3. Jay Kreps et al. Kafka: a Distributed Messaging System for Log Processing.
    Presented by Artem.

Monday October 8 - NO CLASS (Thanksgiving Holiday)

Monday October 15 - Bugs

  1. Jorge Aranda and Gina Venolia. The secret life of bugs: Going past the errors and omissions in software repositories. ICSE 2009.
    Presented by Saraj.
  2. Camilo, Felivel and Meneely, Andrew and Nagappan, Meiyappan. Do Bugs Foreshadow Vulnerabilities? MSR 2015.
    Presented by Tahira.
  3. Erik Linstead, Sushil Bajracharya, Trung Ngo, Paul Rigor, Cristina Lopes, and Pierre Baldi. Sourcerer: mining and searching internet-scale software repositories. Data Minining and Knowledge Discovery 2009.
    Presented by Meihong.

Monday October 22 - NO CLASS (Reading Week)

Monday October 29 - Sentiment Analysis and Hadoop

  1. Islam and Zibran. Leveraging Automated Sentiment Analysis in Software Engineering. MSR 2017.
    Presented by Jenie.
  2. The Hadoop Distributed File System by Shvachko et al. MSST 2010.
    Presented by Artem.
  3. Nicolas Bettenburg, Sascha Just, Adrian Schroter, Cathrin Weiss, Rahul Premraj, and Thomas Zimmermann. What Makes a Good Bug Report?. FSE 2008.
    Presented by Boneetha.

Monday November 05 - NO CLASS (I am away at a conference)

Monday November 12 - Code Review

  1. Amiangshu Bosu, Michaela Greiler, and Christian Bird. Characteristics of Useful Code Review. MSR 2015.
    Presented by Tahira.
  2. Alberto Bacchelli and Christian Bird. Expectations, Outcomes, and Challenges of Modern Code Review. ICSE 2013
    Presented by Raisul.
  3. Tianyi Zhang, Myoungkyu Song, Joseph Pinedo, and Miryung Kim. Interactive Code Review for Systematic Changes. ICSE 2015
    Presented by Maryam.

Monday November 19 - Recommendation Systems

  1. Reid Holmes and Gail C. Murphy. Using structural context to recommend source code examples. ICSE 2005.
    Presented by Meihong.
  2. Emerson Murphy-Hill and Gail C. Murphy. Recommendation Delivery: Getting the User Interface Just Right. Recommendation Systems in Software Engineering 2014.
    Presented by Yibing.

Monday November 26 - Collaborative Development

  1. Sebastian Baltes, Lorik Dumani, Christoph Treude, and Stephan Diehl. SOTorrent: Reconstructing and Analyzing the Evolution of Stack Overflow Posts. MSR 2018.
    Presented by Saraj.
  2. Ariel Rodriguez, Fumiya Tanaka, and Yasutaka Kamei. Empirical Study on the Relationship Between Developers Working Habits and Efficiency. MSR 2018.
    Presented by Ankith.

Monday December 3 - Project Presentations (15 minutes for each team)


  • Weekly paper reviews: 10%
  • Class participation and discussion: 20%
  • Paper presentations: 20%
  • Course Project: 50% (10% project presentation + 40% project report)

Weekly Paper Reviewstop

Each week you are expected to carefully read two papers. In addition, you are to submit a review of one of the papers (you choose which one). However, if you are doing a paper presentation, then you are excused for that week.

Reviews are due by 11:00 AM on the morning of the class. Please send me email with the Subject "[COMP 5900] Paper Review Student_Name".

A review should be about 500-1000 words long, and submitted as a PDF file.

Your review should address the following points:

  1. What were the primary contributions of the paper as the author sees it?
  2. What were the main contributions of the paper as you (the reader) see it?
  3. How does this work move the research forward (or how does the work apply to you)?
  4. How was the work validated?
  5. How could this research be extended?
  6. How could this research be applied in practice?

Class Participationtop

Each week you are expected to read two papers, as well as participate in the class discussion.

Paper Presentationstop

In a typical week, we will examine two or three research papers. I will present a few of them on my own, but the other presentations will be done by students.

You will get to select three papers you want to present from the course (in the order of your first to last preferences). Please make your selections from this list. Once you have selected your papers, email me your selection of three papers.This must be done by Sunday September 16 via email. I will generate a cohesive class schedule once everyone has selected their papers. Each student will be assigned to present two papers in class.

You are then to design a presentation of about 20-25 minutes that is both informative and entertaining. Don't feel limited to just the content of the papers.

You should also come prepared with a set of questions to foster a 15-20 minute discussion session that you will lead to follow the presentation (this is where the other students earn their class participation marks).

When you design your talk, keep in mind that the audience has already read the papers. Remind us of the motivation, the big ideas, the context of the problem being addressed, and how all of this relates to what we've already seen in the course.

Presentations can be done using Open Office, Powerpoint, Keynote, or PDF. You must supply a set of slides (only PDF) to me prior your talk and I will put them on the course web page.

Course Projecttop

The project forms an integral part of this course. The projects can be done individually or completed in groups of two students.

You have two options: either create a submission for the 2019 MSR challenge or come up with an idea of your own that relates to the course material. In either case, the project topic will require my approval (via the proposal).

If you decide to do the MSR challenge, you can optionally decide to submit it to the conference, but note that the deadline is February 2018. Talk to me if you are interested in exploring this. Otherwise, you can just decide to do the challenge as your class project and ignore the actual conference submission.

There are three deliverables for your project:

  1. Project proposal. Before you undertake your project you will need to submit a proposal for approval. The proposal should be short (max 2 page PDF in ACM format). The proposal should include a problem statement, the motivation for the project, and set of objectives you aim to accomplish. I will read these and provide comments. The proposal is not for marks but must be completed in order to pass the course. This will be due on September 30 by 11:59 PM via email.

  2. Written report. The required length of the written report varies from project to project (8-10 pages, double column format); all reports must be formatted according to the ACM format and submitted as a PDF. This report will constitute 100% of the project report grade. This will be due on December 10 by 11:59 PM via email.

  3. Project presentation. Each group will have the opportunity to present their project in class on December 03 . This presentation should take the form of a 15 minute (hard maximum) conference-style talk and describe the motivation for your work, what you did, and what you found. If a demo is the best way to describe what you did, feel free to include one in the middle of the talk. Please allocate 3-5 minute time for questions after the project has been presented.

    The proposed structure of your presentation:

    1. Introduction (describe the problem and motivation)
    2. Research questions
    3. Methodology: data collection, data cleanup, data mining, data analysis (statistics, machine learning), etc.
    4. Results (achieved, preliminary, or anticipated)
    5. Implications (why does this study matter? how can your findings be used?)
    6. Conclusion (summary, main contributions)


The best way to get in touch with me is via email: olga.baysal[at]

University Policiestop

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is everyone’s business because academic dishonesty affects the quality of every Carleton degree. Each year students are caught in violation of academic integrity and found guilty of plagiarism and cheating. In many instances they could have avoided failing an assignment or a course simply by learning the proper rules of citation. See the academic integrity for more information.

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities (PMC) provides services to students with Learning Disabilities (LD), psychiatric/mental health disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), chronic medical conditions, and impairments in mobility, hearing, and vision. If you have a disability requiring academic accommodations in this course, please contact PMC at 613-520-6608 or for a formal evaluation. If you are already registered with the PMC, contact your PMC coordinator to send me your Letter of Accommodation at the beginning of the term, and no later than two weeks before the first in-class scheduled test or exam requiring accommodation (if applicable). After requesting accommodation from PMC, meet with me to ensure accommodation arrangements are made. Please consult the PMC website for the deadline to request accommodations for the formally-scheduled exam (if applicable).

Pregnancy Obligation

Write to the instructor with any requests for academic accommodation during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist. For more details visit the Equity Services website.

Religious Obligation

Write to the instructor with any requests for academic accommodation during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist. For more details visit the Equity Services website.