Keynote Speaker

Dr. Thomas Zimmerman, Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research

Software Analytics for Digital Games



Software and its development generates an inordinate amount of data. Development activities such as check-ins, work items, bug reports, code reviews, and test executions are recorded in software repositories. User interactions that reflect how customers experience software are recorded in telemetry data, run-time traces, and log files and helps to track application and feature usage and expose performance and reliability. Software analytics takes this data and turns it into actionable insight to better inform decisions related to software.


In this talk, I will summarize our efforts in the area of software analytics with a special focus on digital games. I will present several examples of games studies, that we have worked on at Microsoft Research such as how players are engaged in Project Gotham Racing, how skill develops over time in Halo Reach and Forza Motorsports, and the initial experience of game play. I will also point out important differences between games development and traditional software development. The work presented in this talk has been done by Nachi Nagappan, myself, and many others who have visited our group over the past years.



Thomas Zimmermann is a senior researcher in the Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research, adjunct assistant professor at the University of Calgary, and affiliate professor at the University of Washington. His research interests include software analytics, development tools, recommender systems, and games research. He is best known for his research on systematic mining of version archives and bug databases to conduct empirical studies and to build tools to support developers and managers. His work received several awards, including Ten Year Most Influential Paper awards at ICSE’14 and MSR’14, four ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards, and a CHI Honorable Mention. He received his PhD in 2008 from Saarland University in Germany. From 2007 to 2008 he was a full-time Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Calgary. His homepage is