Martin Monperrus

The prestigious ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award 2024 goes to Professor Martin Monperrus (WASP, KTH) and his colleagues for their paper Learning from Examples to Improve Code Completion Systems, published at ESEC/FSE in 2009.

The SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award 2024

Martin Monperrus is a WASP Professor of Software Technology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. He and his colleagues receive the 2024 award “for pioneering the use of machine learning to assist developers in generating code snippets, paving the way for today’s intelligent code assistance tools.”

It is a great opportunity to reflect about the nature of impact and the long termism of research. I tell my students that academic research tends to completely overlook some questions and domains. If one identifies such a blind spot which is actually of utmost relevance in the real world, that is a good start”, says Martin Monperrus.

Martin’s research lies in the field of software engineering with a current focus on automatic program repair, AI on code, and program hardening. He was one of the first strategic recruitments to WASP in 2017.

Impacting millions of developers daily

In 2009, Martin Monperrus, Marcel Bruch (JetBrains) and Mira Mezini (TU Darmstadt) came up with the idea to create intelligent code completion systems learning from existing code repositories. The paper, Learning from Examples to Improve Code Completion Systems, was published at the internationally renowned ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE).

“We were experimenting with so called ‘recommendation agents’ within software development environments (IDE). Those agents were additional widgets to recommend actions for developers. At one point, in a meeting, we realized that we could completely generalize the concept and innovate in one of the most key features of an IDE: code completion”, explains Martin.

Since its publication, the paper has made an impressive impact on the software engineering field. Part of the impact lies in Github Copilot, a code assistance tool that is used daily by millions of developers. But it was not a straight road to success.

“It took more than a decade, and many failed startups and products (inclusive ours), before the concept became mainstream and the tool was widely used”, says Martin Monperrus.

About the ACM SIGSOFT Awards

The Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (ACM SIGSOFT) runs the top software engineering conferences and journals. SIGSOFT has an award program to recognize the outstanding contributions of the members of the software engineering community, called the SIGSOFT Awards.

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Published: January 31st, 2024

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