Shane McIntosh, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Modern software is developed at a breakneck pace. While the software releases of the past would take several months or even years to prepare, modern software organizations release several times daily. Contemporary paradigms like Continuous Delivery (CD) hasten the tempo at which software organizations can produce official releases by automatically packaging and deploying changes to the source code of a software system that satisfy (automated) testing criteria.
The rapid release cycle of modern software systems is made possible by the build system, i.e., the system that specifies how source code is translated into deliverables (e.g., make, Bazel, Buck). An efficient build system that quickly produces updated versions of a software system is required to keep up with competitors. The rapid release cycle fueled by continuous delivery would be error-prone (and thus, too risky) without a robust and reliable build system.
While build systems provide key benefits, they also require effort to maintain and are difficult for stakeholders to interact with. With respect to build systems, the mission of my research group is twofold. First, we support the development, maintenance, and operation of build systems by mining historical and operational development and build data. Second, we leverage the rich data available within the build system to support various stakeholders on software development teams (e.g., developers, release engineers, managers). In this talk, I will present what I perceive as the biggest opportunities and challenges in this growing area of research.
Biography: Shane McIntosh is an Assistant Professor at McGill University, where he leads the Software Repository Excavation and Build Engineering Labs (Software REBELs). The mission of the Software REBELs is to enable the development of intelligent release pipelines that leverage software development data to support software and release engineering decisions and processes. Dr. McIntosh received his Ph.D. from Queen’s University, where he held an NSERC Vanier Scholarship.
His work has been recognized with several awards, including the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, two distinguished paper awards, and two distinguished reviewer awards. Dr. McIntosh actively collaborates with academics from Canada and nine other countries. Tools that Dr. McIntosh and the Software REBELs have developed are in active use at software organizations that span the globe, such as Sony Mobile (Japan), CQSE (Germany), Shopify (Canada), and Dell EMC (Canada). Despite being an early career researcher, three of the Ph.D. graduates that Dr. McIntosh mentored are now tenure-track lecturers (assistant professor equivalent) at research-intensive universities in Australia and New Zealand.
More about Dr. McIntosh and his work is available at Software REBELs.
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