The steering committee of the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering and the organization committee of the 2022 edition presented the Most Influential Paper award to Professors Lori Pollock and Vijay Shanker with their graduate students Giriprasad Sridhara (PhD), Emily Hill (PhD) and Divya Muppaneni (MS) at the ASE conference on October 12th, 2022. Their paper entitled “Towards automatically generating summary comments for Java methods.” and published in 2010 edition was selected for the ASE Most Influential Paper award among the papers published between 2008-2010.

As software systems continue to grow in size and complexity and software engineers move between projects and companies, software engineers rely on English language documentation (e.g., comments) that describe the code to help them understand and correctly modify the code as needed. Unfortunately, often software developers do not write enough comments or keep them updated as the code is changed. This research resulted in the first automatic technique to generate comments that summarize the action of a given Java method, a common unit of code. By automatically generating summary comments in English, software developers in charge of maintaining a software code do not have to rely on previous developers writing and updating the comments they rely on for understanding the code.