Computer Science


Thinking Fast and Coding Slow: Behavioral Economics and Software Engineering

John Graham

Director of Integration Middleware

Engineering at Red Hat


Behavioral Economics represents the incorporation of psychological concepts into Neoclassical Economics, and has come to the general public's attention recently through popular accounts and explanations of various crises. The premise of this talk is that aspects of Behavioral Economics can help in understanding the dynamics of Software Engineering. I will recount an engineering manager's experiences applying ideas from Behavioral Economics to software engineering in projects small and large, distributed and co-located, over the past decade. In particular, I will concentrate on how the “heuristics and biases” strand of Behavioral Economics is relevant to the Software Engineering domain, and whether current Software Engineering methodologies are designed to cope with these challenges. I will show that the caricatures of human actors in Neoclassical Economics and Behavioral Economics have direct parallels in Software Engineering methodologies, and explore the implications of these observations for improvements of results from software development teams.


John is currently the Director of Integration Middleware Engineering at Red Hat, managing a large (100+ people) global software team and seven products within Red Hat's middleware portfolio. Prior to joining Red Hat in 2008, John was a Senior Staff Engineer at Sybase, where he was a founding member of the Data Tools Platform open source project at the Eclipse Foundation. John has 15+ years of professional experience in software development and management, concentrating on application integration and open source software. In addition to education in computer science and software engineering, John has completed a Masters degree (University of Hawai'i) in Asian Studies, concentrating on computational aspects of Asian languages, especially modern and classical Japanese. Recently John has become an avid runner, and now frames much of his time in BR (Before Run) and AR (After Run) periods.

Host: Prof. Gary Pollice  

Refreshments will be served.



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