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SCAN knowledge base is online


We are glad to release the knowledge and community site on “Journalism, Users and Technology” as one of the deliverables of our SCAN-4J project. On this site we collect texts, practices, projects, tools, events, and people that are concerned with online journalism, particularly (automatic) analysis of user comments to journalistic articles. If you are missing something or have any comment, please contact us.

SCAN-4J stands for systematic Content Analysis of User Comments for Journalists.  This project initiated our – in the meantime very intensive and productive – collaboration with the Hans-Bedrow-Institute for Media Research.

The release of the knowledge and community site corresponds to the end of the SCAN-4J, which was partly funded by Google. However, the timing shows our strong commitment in continuing the fruitful collaboration with the Bedrow-Institute on this current important and inherently multi-disciplinary topic. We consider it as a start than as an end. Expect more to come soon…


Alexander Oeser has successfully presented his student project at Expo 2016


The annual EXPO of the Department of Informatics at University Hamburg is an exhibition of student projects including Study-, Bachelor- and Master theses. This year our student Alexander Oeser has successfully presented his student project “Enrich an API reference documentation with Software Development Screencasts” supervised by Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej and Mathias Ellmann. The research aimed to answer the question on whether a software development screencast can enrich an API reference documentation as the Java SDK 6. The project also aimed to study how to identify a software development screencast from other videos which are located on YouTube. Alexander Oeser has used different algorithms as the Jaccard, Cosine or LSI algorithm to identify those and to assign the screencasts to different categories (system set-up, code compilation or programming). Finally he made a similarity analysis that provide the best 20 API documents from all 9000 existing documents of the Java SDK 6. He will extend his study in his master thesis to get deeper insights of the overall research object which he will face soon.

Interview with Daniel Martens in UHH Newsletter (German)


Our research associate and doctoral candidate Daniel Martens was recently interviewed for the column “Was macht eigentlich …?” (English: “What is he or she doing actually…?”) of the newsletter of the University of Hamburg. The column appears monthly and gets accessed by thousands of readers. It typically includes a 1-2 interviews with professors and senior staff. Ph.D. students are interviewed only rarely.

Daniel Martens talked about his current research interests and activities, his favorite places and activities at the university, and a mobile application he is developing together with 6 universities and the Local Ministry of Science, Research and Equality (German: Behörde für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Gleichstellung, Short: BWFG).

The complete interview (in German) can be read here.

Radio interview about informatics and SCAn (in German)


The Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI) has interviewed Prof. Maalej and Marlo Häring in the context of the BredowCast series about software engineering, the impact of informatics on society, and interdisciplinary collaboration between informatics and other fields, such as our project SCAn (Systematic Content Analysis for Journalism).

After introducing our research area, we chatted about the status and plans of the SCAn project. Manual moderation of user comments in online journalism is time-consuming. Most of the research and automated tools currently focus on filtering “bad” comments. In SCAn we would like to identify high-quality comments. By interviewing moderators and editors of online news sites, we identified and analyzed the current problems in dealing with user comments. Based on the interviews we developed a prototype with a few core features that we now focus on in our research (e.g. identifying pro/contra arguments and quality of comments).

Prof. Novielli visit and public talk


Prof. Nicole Novielli, Ph.D. is visiting our research group to enhance the research collaboration and give a talk on emotional awareness in software engineering. She is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Bari, Italy. Her expertise is in Affective Computing. Since 2006, her research is on human factors and emotions in natural language interaction. Prof. Novielli and Prof. Maalej are co-organizing a ICSE workshop this year on Emotional Awareness in Software Engineering.

We are glad to invite you to the talk of Prof. Novielli:

Title of talk:
The Challenges of Affect Detection in the Social Programmer Ecosystem

Date and Time: Monday, 25th January 2016 at 17:15 PM

Place: Informatikum, Room D-125 Vogt-Kölln-Str. 30, 22527 Hamburg

Software engineering involves a large amount of social interaction, as programmers often need to cooperate with others, whether directly or indirectly. However, we have become fully aware of the importance of social aspects in software engineering activities only over the last decade. In fact, it was not until the recent diffusion and massive adoption of social media that we could witness the rise of the “social programmer” and the surrounding ecosystem. Social media has deeply influenced the design of software development-oriented tools such as GitHub (i.e., a social coding site) and Stack Overflow (i.e., a community-based question answering site). Stack Overflow, in particular, is an example of an online community where social programmers do networking by reading and answering others’ questions, thus participating in the creation and diffusion of crowdsourced knowledge and software documentation.

One of the biggest drawbacks of computer-mediated communication is to appropriately convey sentiment through text. While display rules for emotions exist and are widely accepted for interaction in traditional face-to-face communication, web users are not necessarily prepared for effectively dealing with the social media barriers to non-verbal communication. Thus, the design of systems and mechanisms for the development of emotional awareness between communicators is an important technical and social challenge for research related to computer-supported collaboration and social computing.

As a consequence, a recent research trend has emerged to study the role of affect in the social programmer ecosystem, by applying sentiment analysis to the content available in sites such as GitHub and Stack Overflow, as well as in other asynchronous communication artifacts such as comments in issue tracking systems. This talk surveys the state-of-the-art in sentiment analysis tools and examines to what extent they are able to detect affective expressions in communication traces left by software developers. A discussion is offered about the advantages and limitations of choosing sentiment polarity and strength as an appropriate way to operationalize affective states in empirical studies. Finally, open challenges and opportunities of affective software engineering are discussed, with special focus on the need to combine cognitive emotion modeling with affective computing and natural language processing techniques to build large-scale, robust approaches for sentiment detection in software engineering.

María Gómez is visiting MOBIS


María Gómez from the research center INRIA in France. is visiting our group for extended stay during 2016 (~ 4months). She is collaborating with us on a project, which aims at providing self-healing capabilities into mobile apps by using crowdsourcing approaches. We are very glad to have her with us.

María Gómez is a PhD student in computer science working with the SPIRALS team at INRIA Lille – Nord Europe research center. She is currently interested in self-healing in mobile computing. Her research focuses on the repair of mobile applications in the wild using crowdsourcing.

MOBIS with 4 papers at the IEEE RE’15 in Canada


Our research group was represented at this year’s RE, the 23nd IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference again. MOBIS members presented the following 2 papers at the main conference:

Furthermore, MOBIS members presented the following 2 papers at the conference collocated workshops:

More information about the conference and the schedule of the presentations can be found at the RE website.  

Prof. Robbes is visiting MOBIS


Prof. Romain Robbes from the University of Chile is visiting our group during the winter of 2014. He is collaborating with us on a project, which aims at analyzing developers interactions and predicting their current tasks. We are very glad to have him with us.

Romain Robbes is assistant professor at the University of Chile, in the PLEIAD research lab, since January 2010. He earned his PhD in 2008 from the University of Lugano, Switzerland and received his Master’s degree from the University of Caen, France. His research interests lie in Empirical Software Engineering and Mining Software Repositories. He authored more than 30 papers on these topics at top software engineering venues (ICSE, ASE, EMSE). He was program co-chair of IWPSE- EVOL 2011, and the recipient of a Microsoft SEIF award 2011. 

Prof. Maalej is a winner of the Microsoft Research SEIF Award


Prof. Walid Maalej, the head of MOBIS, is a winner of the “2014 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation Award” by Microsoft Research.
The award is coupled with the project: STIMME- Systematic Analysis of User Reviews and Usage Data for Windows Mobile Apps. The SEIF award supports academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices, and teaching methods.

The SEIF 2014 Award is granted by Microsoft Research Connections Computer Science, in conjunction with the Research in Software Engineering Group, the Sensing and Energy Research Group, and Global Foundation Services.

More info at Microsoft Research.

Prof. Maalej is Early Stage Scientist of the Year


Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej, head of the MOBIS group at the University of Hamburg was honored as “The Early Stage Scientist of the Year” by academics and the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV). He was selected by the jury for his excellent research work as junior professor in the department of informatics and his engagement, in particular for supporting young talented people with a immigration background in Hamburg.

The prize is awarded for the seventh time and has a value of 5000 €. With the price, young scientists are honored for outstanding commitment, trendsetting ideas, or through exemplary dedication with a positive lasting impact on science, research and development. The price is aimed at young researcher up to an age of 35 from all scientific disciplines.

The prize was awarded on March 24th 2014 during the German Science Gala in Frankfurt with about 300 guests from academia, politics, and industry. At the same event the prizes for the Faculty of the Year, the University President of the Year, and the Science Minister of the Year have been awarded as well.

  • Read the entire Press Release about the German Science Gala (in German). 
  • See portrait video shown at the science gala about Prof. Maalej.
  • Read the entire Press Release about the award announcement here (in German).



MOBIS says goodbye to 2013


2013 – Year Nr. 1 in MOBIS life – is now over! We would like to thank the MOBIS team and everybody who helped us in making 2013 a very successful year. After the first release of our website in February 2013 we have had over 10.000 visits and about 5000 visitors from all over the world — far more that we expected. Thank you for your interest in our research and teaching activities! We have grown throughout the year and our very young research group now includes 14 members: 9 research assistants (and Ph.D. candidates), 3 students assistants, one admin, and the group head Prof. Maalej. Moreover, we had 5 visiting researchers from Canada, US, Egypt, and Germany. Overall, in 2013 we published 7 peer-reviewed papers at international conferences and journals and co-edited 2 books one on Requirements Knowledge and the other on Recommendation Systems in Software Engineering. We co-organized 3 international events where we brought together researchers and practitioners to discuss emerging topics on Mobile Services and Software Engineering. We also won two awards. Our group head Prof. Dr. Walid Maalej was honored as “The Early Stage Scientist of the Year” across all sciences in Germany and Rebecca Tiarks received the pro exellentia scholarship for women in technology and natural sciences. Last but not least, our team designed and taught 3 new courses, amongst others the 2 renowned M-Lab courses, where students worked together with real companies on real projects. Some success stories are captured in movies in our YouTube channel. 

Most importantly, we had a lot of fun! While working on tough problems, we had many vivid (sometime long) discussions. We also were on exciting trips where we met interesting people from all over the world.

Of course, we still have many tasks, which are still open and several challenges in research and teaching, which we plan to tackle in 2014. Just to mention two: the MOBIS team is currently working on 5 research proposals and developing 2 new lectures for master students. One thing is clear: 2014 will be as busy as 2013.

We wish all our team members, our students, our partners, collaborators, and colleagues ALL the best for 2014! Looking forward for new challenges, productive time, and lots of fun!

The MOBIS Team