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Danny Dig
Danny Dig
Associate Professor
CS Department
University of Colorado
Adjunct Professor
CS @ Illinois
Computer Science
Office: ECCE 1B15
1111 Engineering Drive
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
email: danny.dig@colorado.edu

Serving Industry: If you are working in industry on AI/ML for IoT systems, we invite you to watch this short video to see how you can leverage our PhD students and faculty. I would love to schedule a discovery session to learn how we can serve you with our NSF industry-university consortium.

Danny Dig is an associate professor of computer science at the University of Colorado, and an adjunct professor at University of Illinois and Oregon State. He enjoys doing research in Software Engineering, with a focus on interactive program transformations that improve programmer productivity and software quality. He successfully pioneered interactive program transformations by opening the field of refactoring in cutting-edge domains including AI/ML, mobile, concurrency and parallelism, component-based, testing, and end-user programming. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his research won the best Ph.D. dissertation award, and the First Prize at the ACM Student Research Competition Grand Finals. He did a postdoc at MIT.

He (co-)authored 60+ journal and conference papers that appeared in top places in SE/PL. According to Google Scholar his publications have been cited 6300+ times. His group's research was recognized with 9 paper awards at the flagship and top conferences in SE (FSE'17, OOPSLA'17, ICSME'17, FSE'16, ICSE'14, ISSTA'13, ICST'13, ICSME'15), 4 award runner-ups, and 1 most influential paper award (N-10 years) at ICSME'15, and 3 winners of the ACM Student Research Competition. He received the NSF CAREER award, the Google Faculty Research Award (twice), and the Microsoft Software Engineering Innovation Award (twice). His research group released dozens of software systems, among them the world's first open-source refactoring tool. Some of the techniques they developed are shipping with the official release of the popular Eclipse, NetBeans, Visual Studio, Android Studio development environments and are used daily by millions of software developers. He has started two popular workshops: Workshop on Refactoring Tools, and Hot Topics On Software Upgrades, both had at least five instances. He chaired or co-organized 14 workshops and 1 conference (MobileSoft'15), and served as a member of 40+ program committees for all top conferences in his area. He is grateful for research funding from NSF, Boeing, IBM, Intel, Google, Microsoft, NEC, and Trimble.

Successful software undergoes constant change. Our research addresses two important questions:

  1. What changes occur most often in practice?
  2. How can we automate them to improve programmers' productivity and software quality?
Over the years we have successfully automated program transformations to (i) retrofit parallelism into sequential code, (ii) improve responsiveness of mobile apps, (iii) upgrade component-based applications, (iv) update obsolete tests, (v) make end-user programs easier to change, and (vi) improve productivity of ML engineers.

General interests:- automated refactoring, interactive program analysis and transformation, design & architectural patterns, and broadly interested in concurrency and parallelism, mobile computing, software development processes, program analysis, software testing, and software evolution

Research Impact:

  • our research on detecting async errors in .NET programs now ships with the official release of Microsoft Visual Studio
  • ICSM'05 paper wins the Most Influential Paper Award (N-10 years) at ICSME'15. The citation reads "The ICSM'05 paper has had the most impact and has stood the test of time best, it has had a profound influence on the upcoming field of API analysis."
  • our refactorings that empower Java programmers to use lambda expressions are shipping with the official release of the NetBeans IDE.
  • PhD research on record-and-replay of API-level refactoring ships with the official release of the Eclipse IDE and are used by millions of Java developers.
  • the automatic inference of refactorings has been used at large companies like Google and IBM, and dozens of research labs.
  • our ASTGen test generation framework is used in the testing infrastructure at Oracle.
  • empirical studies (one and two) on usage of concurrent libraries have influenced the development of the official libraries in .NET and Java.
  • our resource on learning parallelism in .NET receives more than 150,000 visitors.
  • many years ago I developed the world's first open-source refactoring engine for Java, and was downloaded over 17,000 times.


  • Feb 2022: I am honored to receive the IoT Innovator of 2021 award, and to be in a community of thought leaders who are shaping the future of IoT systems. I view this award as truly a recognition for our whole team of faculty, students, and industry members at the PPI Center.
  • Sept 2021: Congratulations to my PhD student Malinda Dilhara for winning the first prize in the ACM Student Research Competition at the flagship ACM conference in SE (FSE'21) for novel research that improves the productivity of ML engineers.
  • Aug 2021: Congratulations to my PhD student Ameya Ketkar for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on Automating Type Changes. And many thanks to collaborators, colleagues, and members of his committee: it truly takes a village to raise a world-class PhD researcher.
  • March 2020: I wrote a blog on What Students Need to hear from their Advisor during Crisis. You can also use other great resources such as my mentor John Maxwell's recent leadership summit on Leading through Crisis
  • Jan 2020: I joined the University of Colorado Boulder as Associate Professor and Director of the PPI Center. Thank you OSU and colleagues for 6 wonderful years in Corvallis.
  • Oct 2019: Inspiring our CoE students to grow personally and professionally. I am inspired myself by our engaged industry partners and how dedicated they are to the students' success.
  • Oct 2019: I am honored to receive the Best Reviewer Award at the ICSME'19 conference. Our community is strong because we help each other.
  • June 2019: Many thanks to the mentors and the 30 faculty that made the ICSE'19 Faculty Mentorship Roundtables a big success. Our community is strong because of people dedicated to help others grow.
  • May 2019: Honored to deliver a keynote at TechDebt'19.
  • Nov 2018: I am fortunate to work with great students like Ameya Ketkar who wins the Second Prize at the ACM SIGSOFT Student Research Competition at FSE'18.
  • Oct 2018: Thank you to all participants that ensured a succesful Planning Workshop for establishing a new NSF IUCRC on Pervasive Personalized Intelligence.


  • ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at FSE'17 for this paper.
  • IEEE TCSE Distinguished Paper Award at ICSME'17 for this paper.
  • ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Artifact Award at OOPSLA'17 for this paper
  • Google Faculty Research Award (twice: in 2017 and 2015)
  • IBM Best Paper Award at HICSS'17 for this paper.
  • ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at FSE'16 for this paper
  • 2016 NSF CAREER Award
  • Most Influential Paper Award (N-10 years) at ICSME'15 for this paper from ICSM'05
  • Best Paper Award at ICSME'15 for this paper
  • ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at ICSE'14 for this paper
  • ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at ISSTA'13 for this paper
  • Best Paper Award at ICST'13 for this paper
  • Microsoft Software Engineering Innovation Foundation award, twice: in 2011 and 2013
  • Best PhD Thesis Award from the CS department at UIUC (and also department-nominated for ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award)
  • 1st Prize at inter-disciplinary Grand Finals of ACM Student Research Competition, 2006
  • 1st Prize at ACM SIGPLAN Student Research Competition, held at OOPSLA'05


MOTTO "Success is not for the chosen few, but for the few who choose" - John Maxwell

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