Mei Nagappan receives 2020 Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award

Friday, March 19, 2021

Professor Mei Nagappan has received a 2020 Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award from CS-Can/Info-Can, the nation’s professional society dedicated to representing computer science and the interests of the discipline to Canadians. He is the ninth faculty member at the Cheriton School of Computer Science to receive this prestigious award. 

Conferred annually since 2009, the Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award recognizes excellence in computer science research and is given to top faculty members in Canadian computer science departments, schools and faculties who are within the first decade of their career after completing their PhD.

photo of Professor Mei Nagappan

“Congratulations to Mei on receiving an Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award from CS-Can/Info-Can,” said Raouf Boutaba, Director of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. “Mei’s research has a broad impact on various stakeholders of software systems. He is regularly invited to serve on program committees of software engineering conferences and on editorial boards of top journals in his field. His many contributions to computer science and software engineering embody the very definition of an outstanding early career researcher.”

Previous recipients of CS-Can/Info-Can’s Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award at the Cheriton School of Computer Science are Professor Florian Kerschbaum (2019 recipient), Professor Daniel Vogel (2018 recipient), Professor Lap Chi Lau (2016 recipient), Professor Kate Larson (2015 recipient), Professor Ondřej Lhoták (2012 recipient), Professor Ian Goldberg (2010 recipient), Professor Bin Ma (2009 recipient) and Professor Éric Schost (2009 recipient).

About Professor Nagappan

Mei Nagappan is the current Ross & Muriel Cheriton Faculty Fellow and an Associate Professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, where he has been a member of the faculty since September 2016. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Software Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and earlier still a postdoctoral researcher at the Software Analysis and Intelligence Lab in the School of Computing at Queen’s University, working with Professor Ahmed Hassan. He completed his PhD in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, under the supervision of Professor Mladen Vouk.

About Professor Nagappan’s research

Professor Nagappan’s most widely known research is on mobile applications and app store mining — two recent fields within software engineering in which he is among the top researchers internationally. He was one of the first to study mobile apps, and his foundational research has illustrated how mobile apps are profoundly different from desktop and server applications. This work resulted in his receiving an early career achievement award from the Mining Software Repositories Conference in 2018 — research that was recognized by peers from academia and industry alike. 

Professor Nagappan’s 2015 paper on mining app stores was the first to incorporate an analysis of user reviews. Cited almost 400 times to date, this research established the conceptual basis for automated review classification used by many subsequent classification tools, and demonstrated that user complaints about privacy and ethical issues and hidden app costs are often as important if not more so than technical factors in an app’s quality. He also built the RepoReapers dataset, which quantifies an open-source project along various dimensions such as community size and amount of testing infrastructure. Researchers around the world use this dataset to select case study subjects for their studies. His paper on curating GitHub for engineered software projects, which uses reaper to enable researchers to select GitHub repositories that contain evidence of an engineered software project, has been accessed more than 3,100 times since it was published in 2017.

Professor Nagappan also collaborates frequently with industry, working with BlackBerry, Huawei, Bank of Montreal, and CA Technologies. Of particular note is his long-standing research relationship with Drs. Tom Zimmermann and Christian Bird of Microsoft Research, a collaboration that resulted in an influential paper that challenged the very nature of empirical case studies and diversity of case study systems.

Professor Nagappan has published journal papers across the top venues in software engineering, among them IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering and Empirical Software Engineering, as well as conference papers at ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, ACM International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering, ACM/IEEE International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, and the IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution. Collectively, his publications have been cited more than 3,300 times with an h-index from Google Scholar of 33.

Professor Nagappan’s stature within the research community is further evidenced by his many invitations to serve. He was elected to the steering committee of the Mining Software Repositories conference in 2017 and currently serves as program co-chair for Mining Software Repositories 2021. He has been a reviewer and associate editor for several top journals. He is also well known for having been the inaugural associate editor of the Blog for IEEE Software, one of the most widely read journals in computer science, which has an enormous readership among industry practitioners who wish to keep current on the latest research.

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