Invitation to a Software Engineering Seminar (Research Talk)
Speaker: Associate Professor Stephen R. Schach, Vanderbilt University,
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Date:  Monday, September 11th
Time:  13.00 (1pm) (about one hour incl. discussion)
Room:  CDT Demo Room (A3017)

Title: The Impact of Individual Programmer Skills on Repeated Maintenance

The Impact of Individual Programmer Skills on Repeated Maintenance

                      Stephen R. Schach
           Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

RTP is a real-time product that has been maintained over a period
of 13 years.  We have analyzed multiple versions of RTP,
which is written in C and Assembler.  We measured increases
in dependencies within the code between successive versions
and performed multivariate statistical analyses on the data.

Programming language was not statistically significant,
notwithstanding the belief that use of Assembler encourages poor
programming practices.  Also, there was no statistical difference
between the versions written by the original developers and those
written by maintenance programmers not involved in the original
development.  The differences between individual programmers were
very highly significant.  We conclude that the most important
factor in ensuring that a software product remains maintainable
over its lifetime is the skill of the individual programmer.
Software engineering education and training is therefore of
paramount importance.