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I am professor of Informatics and head of the software engineering research group (AG SE).

| Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Informatik
Lutz Prechelt

Takustr. 9 (How to get there)
14195 Berlin

Room 014
Phone: +49 / 30 / 838-75115
Twitter: @prechelt
XING page / LinkedIn page
Secretary: GesineMilde

ORCID Id 0000-0001-5592-3521

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Information for students

  • Office hour / Sprechstunde
  • To fix a date for oral examinations, please turn to my secretary.
    • Oral exams for Bachelor/Master entail the material of one course and take 20 minutes.
    • For courses with written exams (Klausur), oral exams are an option only if you have failed the Klausur or are unable to attend the Klausur. Prior consultation with me is required.
  • I am the local representative of the German Informatics Society (Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI)) / GI-Botschafter. Feel free to ask about GI.
  • Teaching of my working group: Course information
  • General StudentInfo

Short vita

I was born in Bielefeld in 1965.

I received the degree of Diplom-Informatiker (~M.Sc.) from Universität Karlsruhe (now Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT) in 1990 with a thesis on parsing German sentences. I stayed there at the Institut für Programmstrukturen und Datenorganisation and got my Ph.D. in 1995 with a thesis revolving around constructive neural network learning algorithms and compiler construction for parallel computers. When I received an offer to found a research group on empirical software engineering, I decided to stay further. That work led to my Habilitation in 2000 based on a book on empirical methodology in software engineering.

At that point I decided I needed to learn something else entirely and I applied for a job in industry. In April 2000, I joined abaXX Technology (later merged into Cordys, later merged into Crealogix), where I held various positions as a department head (Quality Assurance, Training, Process Management, Technical Documentation) and eventually became Chief Technology Officer.

I left abaXX in July 2003 to become full professor at Freie Universität Berlin.

Research interests and past work

I started my research career in artificial intelligence (first natural language processing YAKR], then neural network learning algorithms Prune, Stopping, CasCor]) and then extended it into compiler construction Cupit, reapar] in the realm of parallel computing. I have left all of these fields today.

I early became interested in research methodology and research quality. This first led me to create a benchmark collection called Proben1 for neural network learning algorithms in 1994 Proben1, NNbench], which still appears to be somewhat popular. The same year, I participated in an assessment of the amount of empirical evaluation performed in the software engineering literature Expeval] and performed an analogous one for articles about neural network learning methods NNeval]. I then switched the research area and eventually wrote a methods book on controlled experimentation in software engineering (which I was silly enough to publish in German) in 2000 experiments]. More work related to research methods and research quality will follow.

In 1995, I switched my field of research to empirical software engineering and performed controlled experiments on a number of topics: type-checking tcheck], inheritance depth Inherit], design pattern use PatMain], design pattern documentation PatDoc], and the Personal Software Process pspe]. (Except for the one on inheritance depth, all of these experiments were the first of their kind.)

I am also quite open to taking opportunities when they present themselves. Over the years, this has led to a number of interesting studies regarding for instance design pattern recovery PAT], plagiarism detection jplag], and melody recognition Tuneserver].

When starting afresh after my stint in industry, I shifted to a much more qualitative research approach, because, as you might have guessed by now, I like exploratory work and quantitative methods have a dubious cost/benefit ratio for such purposes. Most of my group's work is now qualitative and revolves around Agile processes and in particular Pair Programming. However, some quantitative work is also left and concerns comparing development platforms.

See ResearchHome for some more information on current work and my personal bibliography or our workgroup bibliography for publications.


Honorary administrative and scientific service



Scientific consulting

I offer consulting (Beratung) and appraisals (Gutachten) in the following topic areas:
  • all areas of the software process: software process models, software process management, software process improvement, software development methods and methodology
  • empirical software engineering studies and their methodology
  • human factors in software development
  • software architecture and design

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