The Empirical Studies of Programmers (ESP) workshops are the premier forum in North America for the presentation of both field and laboratory studies of programmers and software engineers.

Key Dates

Papers and Panels are due: March 31, 1999
Authors informed : May 17, 1999
Final submissions due: June 10, 1999
Poster submissions due: August 2, 1999
Poster authors notified: August 27, 1999
Workshop: Oct. 22-24, 1999



The primary focus of ESP 8 (as with all ESP workshops) is the empricial observation and theoretical analysis of programming and software engineering behavior. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • design, comprehension, debugging and modification of programs
  • teaching, learning and knowledge transfer of various programming languages and paradigms
  • programming environments
  • end-user programming, programming by example and related issues
  • novice/expert differences in programming

Submission categories


Submissions of any length are accepted. (15-30 pages is a reasonable length.)


Panel proposals should contain the names and affiliations of the organizer and all panel members. The proposal should consist of an overall statement about the panel's purpose and statements from each of the panel members stating their position on the panel. This should be limited to 3 pages. A brief description of the way the panel will be conducted should accompany the submission.


Posters represent work-in-progress. Poster submissions should include a brief sketch of the proposed poster and a two-page description of the work presented on the poster.

Submission Information

Six copies of paper and panel submissions should be sent to arrive no later than March 31, 1999. Send to either:

Empirical Studies of Programmers (non-North American submissions)

c/o Dr. Marian Petre
Computing Department
Open University
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA

Empirical Studies of Programmers (North American submissions)

c/o Dr. Laura Leventhal
Computer Science Department
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403

Poster Submission Information

Four copies of the poster description and the poster sketch should be sent to arrive no later than August 2, 1999. Submit posters to one of the addresses above. Posters will be reviewed more lightly than submissions in the papers category.


Accepted papers will be published by ACM Press. In addition, we tentatively plan to invite authors of accepted papers to submit revised and expanded versions of their papers to a special journal issue. Further details will be provided when arrangements have been finalized with a journal. Poster descriptions will be distributed to ESP attendees in a photocopied booklet.

For more information

See the ESP Web page at

Contact any of the co-chairs:

Dr. Irvin Katz
Dr. Marian Petre
+44 1908-65-33-73
Dr. Laura Leventhal



ESP 8 will be held at the Ramada Hotel ($99/night, single or double) situated in Alexandria, Virginia, about 15 minutes by Metro from the Capital and Museum district of Washington, DC. The hotel provides free shuttle buses to and from Washington National Airport as well as to and from the nearest Metro stop. The hotel can provide accommodation at the above rate for ESP attendees arriving earlier or departing later than the conference dates.

Student Participation

Student submissions are encouraged. We will provide complimentary registration and housing for students who are first authors of accepted papers.

Additionally, we are expecting that a student-only conference will be held prior to ESP. Students will be invited to the opening ESP cocktail party regardless of whether they are attending ESP. In addition, early arrivals at ESP will be invited to a late afternoon session of the student conference on Oct. 22, 1999. We are also planning to have a special student poster section for any students attending the student conference. More details will be posted on the ESP Web page and on the PPIG mailing list at a later date. John Pane will be the organizer and Dr. Susan Weidenbeck will be the mentor for this program. Contact John Pane at for information.

Workshop Schedule

ESP 8 will follow the typical format for ESP workshops. The general outline of this format is:

Friday, Oct. 22

Registration opens in the late afternoon
Late afternoon open session with student conference
Early evening cocktail party
Dinner on your own - chance to meet new and previous attendees.

Saturday, Oct. 23

Registration opens prior to breakfast
Continental Breakfast
Lunch *
* These will include a speaker.

Sunday, Oct. 24

Continental Breakfast
Finish around lunch time

ESP 8 Program Committee

Alan Blackwell - University of Cambridge, U.K
Deborah Boehm-Davis, George Mason University, U.S.A.
Michael Clancey, University of California-Berkeley, U.S.A.
Francoise Detienne, INRIA, France
Ben du Boulay, University of Sussex, U.K.
Mark Guzdial, The Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A
Shelly Heller, George Washington University, U.S.A.
Paul Mulholland, The Open University, U.K.
John Pane, Carnegie-Mellon University, U.S.A
Robert Rist, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Mary Beth Rosson, Virginia Institute of Technology
Jorma Sajaniemi, University of Joensuu, Finland
Jean Scholtz, NIST, U.S.A
Judith Segal, University of Surrey, U.K.
James Spohrer, Apple Computer, U.S.A.
John Stasko, The Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A
Barbee Teasley, Southwestern Bell, U.S.A
Susan Weidenbeck, University of Dalhousie, Canada
Willemien Visser, INRIA, France

ESP 8 Organizing Committee

Irvin Katz, Co-chair and Local Arrangements
Marian Petre, Co-chair
Laura Leventhal, Co-chair

ESP Board of Directors

Deborah A. Boehm-Davis, Chair
Wayne D. Gray, Secretary/Treasurer
Susan Wiedenbeck, Board Member
Jean Scholtz, Board Member
Stan Rifkin, Board Member 

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