Sunday, September 14, 2008

Applying Complexity Metrics to Measure Programmer Productivity in HPC

This paper is based around a fairly ambitious task: to measure programmer productivity. As far as I understand it, measuring productivity of a worker outside of an assembly line scenario has been an open topic for as long as there have been assembly lines. Despite that, the authors discuss the set of tools they have used to instrument programmer's workstations, and compare and contrast differing methods of performing the same task; from a command line interface and from a GUI. Much to everyone's surprise, the GUI was quicker and easier to use!! (insert sarcasm) The two methods are measured using a metric devised by the authors, which it seems to me suffers from the same problems as the paper on Measuring Configuration Complexity I read earlier last week; the outcome depends wholly on the heuristics used to define and quantize a single step in work (or configuration), which is still a very open research problem. Also, one of the fundamental assumptions used to build the paper's heuristics, that more steps equals more complexity, is disproved by example in the paper's final movement! Overall, a valiant attempt, but I don't think I would endorse this one.

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