Thomas Fritz, Prof. Dr.

Associate Professor of Human-Oriented Software Engineering
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 enhancing their productivity and effectiveness. 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:

  • 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), "Interruptibility of Software Developers and its Prediction Using Psycho-Physiological Sensors." (Züger and Fritz. CHI'15), and "Stuck and Frustrated or In Flow and Happy: Sensing Developers’ Emotions and Progress." (Müller and Fritz. ICSE'14).
  • 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, to appear in TSE 2017), "Software Developers’ Perceptions of Productivity." (Meyer, Fritz, Murphy, Zimmermann. FSE'14) 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).
  • 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).

My research is funded by

I am part of the software evolution and architecture lab and get to work with great PhD and Master students, in particular with: Katja Kevic, André Meyer, Sebastian Müller and Manuela Züger .

My professional activities include (amongst others):

I am teaching courses on Software Engineering, the Software Praktikum together with Harald Gall, and a seminar on advanced software engineering. I previously taught courses on the Human Aspects of Software Engineering in fall (taught HS'16, HS'15, HS'14, and HS'13), a seminar in advanced software engineering (FS'17, FS'16, FS'14 and FS'12), Software Engineering with Martin Glinz (HS'15, HS'14, HS'13, and HS'12), the Software Praktikum together with Harald Gall (FS'15 and FS'14), and Software Quality with Martin Glinz (FS'12).

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.