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Seminar: Code World, No Blanket

Chris Brown

Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech

Friday, September 10, 2021
2:30pm - 3:45pm
2150 Torgersen Hall


Software engineering plays a vital role in our daily lives. As our society grows increasingly dependent upon technology, the behavior, decisions, and productivity of professional software engineers has a more significant impact on the technology we use everyday. Unfortunately, developers frequently face many problems while developing and maintaining software applications, leading to bad decisions in their work. For example, research shows software engineers often fail to adopt useful programming behaviors, such as adequately testing their code, utilizing development tools to automatically find programming errors, adopting secure coding practices, and following ethical programming guidelines. These poor programming behaviors are very costly for software users, developers, and companies, with the Tricentis Fail Watch reporting software failures impacted over 3.6 billion users and cost over $1.7 trillion USD in 2017. The goal of our research group is to explore various problems software engineers face and develop solutions to support developers and reduce obstacles in their work. Overall, we aim to use interdisciplinary research, automated tools, and empirical studies to observe the actions of developers and motivate the design of future tools for improving the productivity, decision-making, and behavior of software engineers, thus enhancing user experiences and increasing the quality of software we use in our daily lives.


Dr. Chris Brown is from Rock Hill, SC and obtained his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Duke University. After college, he spent two years as a Python developer at Bank of America before enrolling in graduate school at North Carolina State University to pursue an M.S. and Ph.D in Computer Science. He completed his doctoral research under the advisement of Dr. Chris Parnin, where his doctoral work explored ways to improve the behavior of software engineers by integrating behavioral science concepts, such as nudge theory, into bots and automated recommendation systems. Chris joined the CS faculty at Virginia Tech in Fall 2021 and aims to continue exploring ways to improve the behavior, decision-making, and productivity of software engineers through interdisciplinary research, automated tools, and empirical studies.