University of Oulu

E. Tüzün, H. Erdogmus, M. T. Baldassarre, M. Felderer, R. Feldt and B. Turhan, "Ground-Truth Deficiencies in Software Engineering: When Codifying the Past Can Be Counterproductive," in IEEE Software, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 85-95, May-June 2022, doi: 10.1109/MS.2021.3098670

Ground truth deficiencies in software engineering : when codifying the past can be counterproductive

Saved in:
Author: Tüzün, Eray1; Erdogmus, Hakan2; Baldassarre, Maria Teresa3;
Organizations: 1Bilkent University, Turkey
2Carnegie Mellon University, USA
3University of Bari, Italy
4University of Innsbruck, Austria
5Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
6Chalmers University of Technology and Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
7University of Oulu, Finland
8Monash University, Australia
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2022
Publish Date: 2021-08-11


Many software engineering tools build and evaluate their models based on historical data to support development and process decisions. These models help us answer numerous interesting questions, but have their own caveats. In a real-life setting, the objective function of human decision-makers for a given task might be influenced by a whole host of factors that stem from their cognitive biases, subverting the ideal objective function required for an optimally functioning system. Relying on this data as ground truth may give rise to systems that end up automating software engineering decisions by mimicking past sub-optimal behaviour. We illustrate this phenomenon and suggest mitigation strategies to raise awareness.

see all

Series: IEEE software
ISSN: 0740-7459
ISSN-E: 1937-4194
ISSN-L: 0740-7459
Volume: 39
Issue: 3
Pages: 85 - 95
DOI: 10.1109/MS.2021.3098670
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.