Sebastian Baltes

Dr Sebastian Baltes

Lecturer

School of Computer Science

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Sebastian Baltes is a Lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He received his PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Trier, Germany. In his research, he empirically analyses software developers' work habits to identify requirements for new tools and point to possible tool and process improvements. For him, thoroughly analysing and understanding the state-of-practice is an essential first step towards improving how software is being developed. Too often, decisions are still rather opinion-based than data-informed. His long-term goal is to bridge the gap between empirical research and practice, both by studying relevant phenomena and by communicating the results back to practitioners.

In my research, I empirically analyse software developers' work habits to identify requirements for new tools and point to possible tool and process improvements. For me, thoroughly analysing and understanding the state-of-practice is an essential first step towards improving how software is being developed. Too often, decisions are still rather opinion-based than data-informed. My long-term goal is to bridge the gap between empirical research and practice, both by studying relevant phenomena and by communicating the results back to practitioners. Some of my research projects already led to recommendations for researchers and practitioners, others to the development of novel tool prototypes.

Most empirical studies I conduct follow a mixed methods design, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. I am especially interested in interdisciplinary research, involving theories and methods from the social sciences (e.g., grounded theory, social constructionism) and psychology (e.g., theories on expertise development). Moreover, with an increasing number of software companies maintaining open source projects, legal aspects of software development gain importance. One legal question I studied is the license status of code snippets on Stack Overflow and developers’ awareness of its implications.

To complement qualitative results derived from interviews, observational studies, or open-ended survey questions, I apply data-mining techniques to open source software projects or other data sets. I further maintain the open dataset SOTorrent that other researchers can use to study the origin, evolution, and usage of Stack Overflow content. That dataset was selected as the official mining challenge of MSR 2019. I am also interested in information visualisation and visual analytics, exploring how interactive visualisations can support humans in analysing data. I regularly develop custom visualisation that we have been using in different research projects to explore data or to derive patterns. I support open science and open data practices: I try to publish data, software, analysis scripts, and paper preprints whenever possible. Moreover, I argue for an active discussion about research methodology and ethical issues in the software engineering research community.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2019 - 2019 Postdoctoral researcher University of Trier
    2013 - 2019 Doctoral researcher University of Trier
    2012 - 2012 Software Developer JAM Software GmbH
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    German Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2013 - 2019 University of Trier Germany PhD
    2012 - 2013 Linnaeus University Sweden Exchange Semester
    2010 - 2013 University of Trier Germany MSc
    2007 - 2010 University of Trier Germany BSc
  • Research Interests

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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Baltes, S., & Diehl, S. (2019). Usage and Attribution of Stack Overflow Code Snippets in GitHub Projects. Empirical Software Engineering, 24(3), 1259-1295.
    DOI
    Stors, N., & Baltes, S. (n.d.). Constructing Urban Tourism Space Digitally: A Study of Airbnb Listings
    in Two Berlin Neighborhoods.

    DOI
    Baltes, S., Dumani, L., Treude, C., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). The Evolution of Stack Overflow Posts: Reconstruction and Analysis.
    Baltes, S., Treude, C., & Robillard, M. P. (n.d.). Contextual Documentation Referencing on Stack Overflow.
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2019 Baltes, S., Treude, C., & Diehl, S. (2019). SOTorrent: Studying the origin, evolution, and usage of stack overflow code snippets. In IEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories Vol. 2019-May (pp. 191-194).
    DOI Scopus12
    2018 Baltes, S., Dumani, L., Treude, C., & Diehl, S. (2018). SOTorrent: Reconstructing and analyzing the evolution of stack overflow posts. In Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering (pp. 319-330). online: ACM.
    DOI Scopus8 WoS1
    2016 Blascheck, T., Beck, F., Baltes, S., Ertl, T., & Weiskopf, D. (2016). Visual analysis and coding of data-rich user behavior. In G. L. Andrienko, S. Liu, & J. T. Stasko (Eds.), 2016 IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST 2016) (pp. 141-150). online: IEEE.
    DOI
    2015 Biegel, B., Baltes, S., Scarpellini, I., & Diehl, S. (2015). Code Basket: Making Developers’ Mental Model Visible and Explorable. In K. Blincoe, D. E. Damian, G. Valetto, & J. D. Herbsleb (Eds.), 2nd IEEE/ACM International Workshop on Context for Software Development (CSD 2015) (pp. 20-24). Online: IEEE Computer Society.
    DOI
    2015 Biegel, B., Baltes, S., Prevos, B., & Diehl, S. (2015). VisualCues: Visually explaining source code in computer science education. In Z. Li, C. Ermel, & S. D. Fleming (Eds.), 2015 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC 2015) (pp. 89-93). online: IEEE Computer Society.
    DOI
    2014 Beck, F., Gulan, S., Biegel, B., Baltes, S., & Weiskopf, D. (2014). RegViz: Visual debugging of regular expressions. In P. Jalote, L. C. Briand, & A. van der Hoek (Eds.), 36th International Conference on Software Engineering Companion (ICSE 2014) (pp. 504-507). Online: ACM.
    DOI
    Baltes, S., & Wagner, S. (n.d.). Empirical Research Plan: Effects of Sketching on Program Comprehension.
    DOI
    Baltes, S., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Sketches and Diagrams in Practice.
    DOI
    Baltes, S., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Worse Than Spam: Issues In Sampling Software Developers.
    DOI
    Baltes, S., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Towards a Theory of Software Development Expertise.
    DOI
    Baltes, S., Hollerich, F., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Round-Trip Sketches: Supporting the Lifecycle of Software Development
    Sketches from Analog to Digital and Back.
    Baltes, S., Kiefer, R., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Attribution Required: Stack Overflow Code Snippets in GitHub Projects.
    DOI
    Baltes, S., Knack, J., Anastasiou, D., Tymann, R., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). (No) Influence of Continuous Integration on the Commit Activity in
    GitHub Projects.

    DOI
    Baltes, S., Moseler, O., Beck, F., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Navigate, Understand, Communicate: How Developers Locate Performance
    Bugs.

    DOI
    Baltes, S., Schmitz, P., & Diehl, S. (n.d.). Linking Sketches and Diagrams to Source Code Artifacts.
    DOI

Semester 2, 2019:

  • COMP SCI 1106: Introduction to Software Engineering
  • COMP SCI 3304: Engineering Software as Services II
  • COMP SCI 3006: Software Engineering & Project

A full list of my previous teaching activities at the University of Trier in Germany can be found on my personal website.

  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83131183
  • Email: sebastian.baltes@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Ingkarni Wardli, floor 4
  • Room: 4 37
  • Org Unit: School of Computer Science

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