Emily Hill is an assistant professor of computer science.
The associate professor joined Drew in 2014.

Publication is ‘Google for source code.’

August 2017 – Impact can be fleeting in computer science, a field marked by rapid change and innovation. But Drew University’s Emily Hill achieved just that in a paper she helped develop a decade ago.

Hill, an associate professor and program director in Drew’s Mathematics and Computer Science Department, earned a Most Influential Paper Award for her contributions to a piece of research titled, “Using Natural Language Program Analysis to Locate and Understand Action-Oriented Concerns.”

The paper maps an easier way to search and understand software, enabling programmers and engineers to root out bugs and other problems. Hill likened it to “Google for source code.”

The work was developed by a team at the University of Delaware when Hill was a doctoral student there. The other contributors were students David Shepherd and Zachary Fry and professors Lori Pollock and Vijay Shanker.

The International Conference on Aspect-Oriented Software Development bestows the influential paper award ten years after something is published, based on its impact on software engineering research and practice. Using the research, Shepherd later developed a plug-in—a software component that enhances an existing program—that’s still used today with Microsoft’s Visual Studio, according to Hill.

Hill earned a PhD in computer science from Delaware in 2010 and joined Drew in 2014. Her main research area is software engineering, but her work in computer science is broad. This semester she’s teaching a new interdisciplinary course on innovation in technology with Andrew Elliott, associate professor of Theatre Arts.