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Informatics Professor Crista Lopes has teamed up with UCLA Professor Jens Palsberg on a new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, “NJR: A Normalized Java Resource.” Lopes will receive $500,000 of the $1.1 million awarded to the duo as they work with collaborators from five countries to build a community resource of executable Java programs.

“Researchers in programming languages and software engineering spend too much time looking for benchmarks, and massaging benchmarks, such that they fit their needs,” says Lopes. “Our goal is to develop an infrastructure that consists of 100,000 executable Java programs, together with a set of working tools and an environment for building new tools. This infrastructure can be used for benchmarking all sorts of existing and future software tools.”

The project is funded under the NSF’s Community Research Infrastructure (CRI) program. As such, the Normalized Java Resource (NJR) catalog of tools will be geared toward research support. “We found that the most popular tools are for call-graph construction, code coverage and program instrumentation. We will also run tools that collect static data about each Java program. After that, we have a list of tools that researchers had on their wish lists.”

NJR will lower the barrier for implementing new tools, thereby speeding up research. It could also help with the development of better benchmark suites in general.

— Shani Murray