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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How a programmer understands a program : a model


In a large variety of programming situations, a programmer is required to understand a program that someone else has written. A model has been created for the behavior seen in the verbal protocol of a programmer on a sample understanding task. The model is based on a theory of understanding which stresses the role of the programmer's apriori hypotheses or guesses about the program structure. Organization of the model is that of a production system, a structure which appears particularly well-suited to the asynchronous, non-sequential nature of the input.

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