SMI Helps to Generate Largest Eye Tracking Dataset on Programming Behavior

Nov 18, 2015, 11:23 ET from SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH (SMI)

BERLIN, November 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

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SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) and an international group of researchers collaborated to collect a large set of eye tracking data on programmer behavior as a key to advancing research in the field.

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Research teams at University of Eastern Finland, at Freie Universität Berlin and eye tracking company SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) collaborated to gather a large set of eye tracking data on programming behavior in a unique distributed data collection initiative. 10 labs in 8 countries participated in the ambitious project and collected more than 250 data samples of eye movements in a standardized program comprehension experiment. Within a time frame of 5 months, each participant received a SMI RED250mobile eye tracking system with a preloaded experimental setup and contributed to the data pool by collecting records from a small number of subjects. So far the lack of large data sets was a bottleneck, now the wealth of standardized records will be key to advancing research in the field.

Experiences from the project are posted online at:

Experts will further evaluate the data pool at "The Third International Workshop on Eye Movements in Programming" ( taking place November 22-24, 2015, at University of Eastern Finland. At the workshop, experts will discuss the methodological, theoretical and applied aspects of eye movements in programming and how to validate theories against the data gathered during the distributed collection.

The recorded data captures code reading behavior of programmers with different levels of experience, ranging from complete novice to professional expert. This uniquely diverse data set allows to address research questions on reading patterns during comprehension processes and differences between novice and expert programmers. The results will help to improve programming education and support the daily practices of professional programmers.

For the multiple site data collection, SMI provided several portable SMI RED250mobile eye tracker. The contact-free device runs from a laptop, is easy to install, and can be moved quickly to various labs around the globe. Even researchers new to SMI technology could easily collect the eye tracking data using a preloaded, standardized reading experiment designed with SMI Experiment Suite Scientific eye tracking software.

Bonita Sharif, Software Engineering Research and Empirical Studies Lab, Youngstown State University, USA: "It was very easy to use the SMI tracker to collect eye tracking data. The setup was very simple and required very little time. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of using the system."

Ahmad Jbara, School of Mathematics and Computer Science of the Netanya Academic College, Netanya, Israel: "The setup of the system was very easy and the run of the experiment went smoothly even for first year students who just passed one programming course. Overall, it is an impressive system."

Roman Bednarik, School of Computing, University of Eastern Finland: "This unique distributed data collection was a great opportunity to collect a large dataset with the specific target group of programmers. The data pool allows evaluation of hypotheses generated by previous research."

Teresa Busjahn, Institute of Computer Science, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany: "Using the preloaded experiment in SMI Experiment Suite, the distributed collection was easy to handle. We really appreciate SMI's great support in making this collaborative project possible."

Meike Mischo, Product Manager, SensoMotoric Instruments: "Our eye tracking hardware and software facilitates scientific research in a variety of settings inside and outside the lab. SMI solutions are designed to collect and analyze large eye tracking data sets in a short amount of time helping researchers to efficiently get to publishable results."

About SMI 

SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) is a world leader in eye tracking technology, developing and marketing eye & gaze tracking solutions for scientists and professionals, OEM and medical solutions for a wide range of applications. Find out more at Follow @SMIeyetracking on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter.

Media Contacts
SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH (SMI)
Stefanie Gehrke

SOURCE SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH (SMI)