Mon 26 Oct 2015 10:30 - 10:50 at Grand Station 5 - Tools Chair(s): Thomas LaToza

Which programming error messages are the most common? We investigate this question, motivated by writing error explanations better suited to novices. We consider two very large data sets, one in Python and the other in Java, both combining syntax and run-time errors. We group essentially identical messages and then determine the most common ones. In both data sets, we find that the error message frequencies empirically resemble Zipf-Mandelbrot distributions. We use a maximum-likelihood approach to select the distribution parameters. This gives one possible way to contrast languages or compilers quantitatively.

Frequency Distribution of Error Messages (plateau2015-pritchard.pdf)960KiB

David Pritchard studied computer science and mathematics at MIT and the University of Waterloo, obtaining his PhD in 2010. He taught at Waterloo, EPFL (Switzerland), Princeton University, and the University of Southern California, while developing free software for students to practice and learn introductory programming online. He is currently employed at Google Los Angeles, and continues to volunteer for the Computer Science Circles project, which is hosted by the Center for Education in Mathematics and Computer Science in Waterloo.

Mon 26 Oct

plateau2015
10:30 - 12:00: PLATEAU - Tools at Grand Station 5
Chair(s): Thomas LaTozaGeorge Mason University
plateau201510:30 - 10:50
Talk
David PritchardUniversity of Waterloo, Canada
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plateau201510:50 - 11:10
Talk
Milan KabáčUniversity of Bordeaux / Inria Bordeaux / LaBRI, Nic VolanschiInria Bordeaux, Charles ConselUniversity of Bordeaux
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plateau201511:10 - 11:30
Talk
Per Ola KristenssonUniversity of Cambridge, Chung Leung LamUniversity of Cambridge
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plateau201511:30 - 11:40
Talk
Andrei ChişUniversity of Bern, Switzerland, Tudor Gîrbatudorgirba.com, Switzerland, Oscar NierstraszUniversity of Bern, Switzerland
Pre-print Media Attached File Attached
plateau201511:40 - 11:53
Talk
Jason JacquesUniversity of Cambridge, Per Ola KristenssonUniversity of Cambridge
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