Master Thesis Defense: Investigating the Perception and Effects of Misunderstandings in Java Code

May 27, 2020 14:00 — 16:00

Mistakes in what a program’s source code actually does are inevitable. One of the potential causes are “atoms of confusion''; the smallest possible patterns of misinterpretable source code. These patterns and the misunderstandings and errors they can cause are explored in past studies in the C programming language. They are found to occur in many large projects and style guides. For this work, the existing tested set of atoms of confusion is translated into the Java programming language. The new code snippets are used in a two-fold experiment to show that 7 out of the 14 translatable atoms are the cause of misunderstandings for students. The second part of the experiment shows that these students also perceive those atoms of confusion as being more difficult to understand.