The Role and Relevance of Experimentation in Informatics

TitleThe Role and Relevance of Experimentation in Informatics
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsAndujar, C, Schiaffonati V, Schreiber FA, Tanca L, Tedre M, van Hee K, van Leeuwen J
Date Published11/2012
InstitutionInformatics Europe

Informatics is a relatively young field within science and engineering. Its research and development methodologies build on the scientific and design methodologies in the classical areas, often with new elements to it. We take an in-depth look at one of the less well-understood methodologies in informatics, namely experimentation.

What does it mean to do experiments in informatics? Does it make sense to ‘import’ traditional principles of experimentation from classical disciplines into the field of computing and information processing? How should experiments be documented? These are some of the questions that are treated.

The report argues for the key role of empirical research and experimentation in contemporary Informatics. Many IT systems, large and small, can only be designed sensibly with the help of experiments. We recommend that professionals and students alike are well-educated in the principles of sound experimentation in Informatics. We also recommend that experimentation protocols are used and standardized as part of the experimental method in Informatics.