We are interdisciplinary researchers with diverse backgrounds based in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Victoria. Our offices are located in the Engineering/Computer Science building.

Our research interests include:

  • cognitive support and technology diffusion
  • human computer interaction
  • human and social implications of technology use
    (social informatics)
  • interface design
  • knowledge engineering
  • software engineering
  • technology and pedagogy
  • visualization

Our primary objective is to develop tools that support people in performing complex cognitive tasks. Our projects benefit from the collaborative approach taken within our group and with other researchers. As a group, we operate by thinking creatively, exploiting our synergies, and applying innovative research techniques.

Contact us

We’re on eMail, Twitter, and Facebook.


We frequently work with several other groups in the department:

Papers accepted to CSCW 2015 and CASCON 2014!

Congratulations to the following CHISELers on their recent paper successes!

Elena Voyloshnikova and Margaret-Anne Storey’s paper titled “Towards Understanding Digital Information Discovery and Curation” has been accepted to CASCON 2014.

Alexey Zagalsky, Noel Feliciano, and Margaret-Anne Storey’s paper titled “The Emergence of GitHub as a Collaborative Platform for Education” has been accepted to CSCW 2015.

We are particularly excited about these venues as they’re both in Canada.

An Exploratory Study of the Adoption of Mobile Development Platforms by Software Engineers

MobileSoft 2014 accepted our paper on the adoption of mobile development platforms.

Preprint here!

Authors: Müller Miranda, Renato Pina, Cleidson De Souza, Fernando Figueira Filho, Leif Singer

Abstract: There are several mobile platforms that compete with each other to attract software developers. However, it is not yet well understood which factors developers take into account when deciding on a particular platform. We report on an exploratory study that aims to address this gap. Through semi-structured interviews that used diffusion of innovations theory as conceptual framework, we identified some of these factors. For instance, we uncovered that developers perceive the Android platform as more accessible and compatible with their existing knowledge, but that they fear its fragmentation. Some developers choose iOS simply because sales are more lucrative on that platform. Our preliminary findings can help developers to decide which platforms to use and platform vendors to optimize their offerings to developers.

The Promises and Perils of Mining GitHub

Our paper on using GitHub data for research got accepted by MSR 2014!

Authors: Eirini Kalliamvakou, Georgios Gousios, Kelly Blincoe, Leif Singer, Daniela Damian, Daniel German

Abstract: With over 10 million git repositories, GitHub is becoming one of the most important source of software artifacts on the Internet. Researchers are starting to mine the information stored in GitHub’s event logs, trying to understand how its users employ the site to collaborate on software. However, so far there have been no studies describing the quality and properties of the data available from GitHub. We document the results of an empirical study aimed at understanding the characteristics of the repositories in GitHub and how users take advantage of GitHub’s main features — namely commits, pull requests, and issues. Our results indicate that, while GitHub is a rich source of data on software development, mining GitHub for research purposes should take various potential perils into consideration. We show, for example, that the majority of the projects are personal and inactive; that GitHub is also being used for free storage and as a Web hosting service; and that almost 40% of all pull requests do not appear as merged, even though they were. We provide a set of recommendations for software engineering researchers on how to approach the data in GitHub.

Software Engineering at the Speed of Light: How Developers Stay Current Using Twitter

Our study on how developers use Twitter got accepted at ICSE 2014!

We’ve written up a blog post that presents some of the core findings.

Authors: Leif Singer, Fernando Figueira Filho, Margaret-Anne Storey

Abstract: The microblogging service Twitter has over 500 million users posting over 500 million tweets daily. Research has established that software developers use Twitter in their work, but this has not yet been examined in detail. Twitter is an important medium in some software engineering circles — understanding its use could lead to improved support, and learning more about the reasons for non-adoption could inform the design of improved tools.

In a qualitative study, we surveyed 271 and interviewed 27 developers active on GitHub. We find that Twitter helps them keep up with the fast-paced development landscape. They use it to stay aware of industry changes, for learning, and for building relationships. We discover the challenges they experience and extract their coping strategies. Some developers do not want to or cannot embrace Twitter for their work — we show their reasons and alternative channels. We validate our findings in a follow-up survey with more than 1,200 respondents.