Colloquium: Information Foraging Theory: Cues and Scents in Global Software Teams

   Computer Science Colloquium

                 Monday, February 25, 2013
                          4:00 p.m.
                      Hardymon Theater
                  Davis Marksbury Building

                       Dr. Irwin Kwan
                   Oregon State University

                Information Foraging Theory: Cues
                and Scents in Global Software Teams

Software engineering is focused on helping humans build large, complicated software projects, but much of this research is done without the frame of underlying theoretical principles. In this talk, I explore how a theory that explains information-seeking behaviour, Information Foraging Theory, can be adapted from investigating individual programmers debugging to a global  team of distributed software developers.

Information foraging theory, which is adapted from optimal foraging theory, proposes that humans pick up a "scent" when seeking information using "cues"  in the environment to find information that is valuable and easily-accessible. However, in global software engineering contexts, it is difficult to find  these cues. I present how the constructs of information foraging theory  enable us to apply a principled way to explore information seeking behaviour  in a global software team and identify implications for the design of  collaborative software engineering tools.

Irwin Kwan is a post-doctorate scholar at Oregon State University with Dr. Margaret Burnett where he researches human aspects of software engineering. He received his PhD degree in 2011 at the University of Victoria with the Software Engineering Global interAction Lab (SEGAL) in the area of global software engineering. He also has a Master's of Mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and a Baccalaureate of Applied Science degree in software engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada. His interests includes empirical software engineering, collaborative software development and information-seeking practices within global software development organizations.