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Department of Informatics Human Aspects of Software Engineering Lab

Thomas Fritz, Prof. Dr.



Associate Professor of Human Aspects of Software Engineering (HASE)
  University of Zurich
  Department of Informatics (ifi)
  Binzmühlestrasse 14
  CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland
  Tel   +41 44 635 67 32
  Fax   +41 44 635 71 48
  Office   BIN 2.B.21

My research focuses on empirically studying software developers and on using personal and biometric data to improve software developers' productivity and well-being. By better understanding what software developers need, what they experience, and how they operate on a daily basis, we will be able to provide better and more tailored support to developers as well as improve their productivity and the quality of the software they produce. In particular, I'm interested in:

  • Developer Productivity / Personal Analytics: understanding software developers' perceptions of productivity, providing a meaningful retrospection and fostering productive behavior in software developers.
    Selected publications in this area are: "Reducing Interruptions at Work: A Large-Scale Field Study of FlowLight" (Züger, Corley, Meyer, Li, Fritz, Shepherd, Augustine, Francis, Kraft, Snipes, CHI'17), "The Work Life of Developers: Activities, Switches and Perceived Productivity." (Meyer, Barton, Murphy, Zimmermann, Fritz. TSE 2017), and "Persuasive Technology in the Real World: A Study of Long-Term Use of Activity Sensing Devices for Fitness." (Fritz, Huang, Murphy, Zimmermann. CHI'14).
  • Biometric Sensing: exploring the potential of biometric (aka. psycho-physiological) sensors to measure the difficulty, emotions, and interruptibility developers experience while working, and using these measures to provide better support, such as, by intervening before a developer create a bug or the developer's productivity is impeded.
    Selected publications in this area are: "Using (Bio)Metrics to Predict Code Quality Online." (Müller, Fritz. ICSE'16), "Sensing Interruptibility in the Office: A Field Study on the Use of Biometric and Computer Interaction Sensors." (Züger, Müller, Meyer, Fritz. CHI'18), and "Stuck and Frustrated or In Flow and Happy: Sensing Developers’ Emotions and Progress." (Müller and Fritz. ICSE'14).
  • Information Needs: empirically studying developers’ information needs, and devising developer-centric models that provide easy access to the relevant project information.
    Selected publications in this area are: "Tracing Software Developers’ Eyes and Interactions for Change Tasks." (Kevic, Walters, Shaffer, Sharif, Fritz, Shepherd. FSE'15), "The Making of Cloud Applications – An Empirical Study on Software Development for the Cloud." (Cito, Leitner, Fritz, Gall. FSE'15), and "Developers’ Code Context Models for Change Tasks." (Fritz, Shepherd, Kevic, Snipes and Bräunlich. FSE'14).


Working with great students is one of the best parts of my job. I'm currently working with

and mentored and graduated several great students, including (in no particular order)

  • @UZH: PhD students André Meyer(Postdoc and Okomo), Katja Kevic(Microsoft), Manuela Züger (IPT), Sebastian Müller (Zühlke), and MSc students including Catrin Loch, Christoph Bräunlich, Claudia Vogel, Raphael Rosenast, Yves Bilgerig, and Annatina Vinzenz.
  • @UBC: Jan Pilzer (Microsoft), and Anna Scholz (Mozilla).


My research is funded by

My professional activities include (amongst others):

I am teaching courses on Software Engineering, the Software Praktikum, a gradate course on Human Aspects of Software Engineering, a seminar on advanced software engineering, and previously a course on Software Quality with Martin Glinz (FS'12). See the teaching section for more information.

Previously, I finished my PhD with Gail C. Murphy in the Software Practices Lab at the University of British Columbia in 2011. I received my Diplom degree from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich in 2005 and also worked in the OBASCO research group at the École des Mines de Nantes.

If you are a student interested in doing research in software engineering and in particular in the area I am interested in, let me know. I am happy to talk to you about possible options.

Weiterführende Informationen


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