A collaboration between ISTE-ESE and DLR
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has a strong institute that focuses on software engineering. In collaboration with DLR, researchers from the Empirical Software Engineering group published a new article in the open-access journal PeerJ Computer Science. It systematically analyses the current research on bots in software engineering. Bots are independent artificial agents that work together with human software engineers to build better software. They have the potential to open new ways of developing software.
Systematic classification of the research field
Bots have emerged from research prototypes to deployable systems due to the recent developments in machine learning, natural language processing and understanding techniques. In software engineering, bots range from simple automated scripts to decision-making autonomous systems. The spectrum of applications of bots in software engineering is so wide and diverse, that a comprehensive overview and categorization of such bots is needed. Existing research considered selective bots to be analysed and failed to provide the overall picture. Hence, it is significant to categorize bots in software engineering through analysing why, what and how the bots are applied in software engineering. The authors approach the problem with a systematic mapping study based on the research articles published in this topic. This study focuses on classification of bots used in software engineering, the various dimensions of the characteristics, the more frequently researched area, potential research spaces to be explored and the perception of bots in the developer community. This study aims to provide an introduction and a broad overview of bots used in software engineering. Discussions of the feedback and results from several studies provide interesting insights and prospective future directions.